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Pakistani activists are claiming that two transgender women from Pakistan were beaten to death by police in Saudi Arabia last week after being arrested there along with more than 30 other members of Saudi Arabia's transgender community.

Farzana Riaz, a leader of the campaign group Trans Action Pakistan, told a press conference in Peshawar, Pakistan on March 6 that several members of Saudi Arabia's transgender community had complained about the alleged beating deaths.

Riaz said the sources alleged that two Pakistani transgender women were forced into sacks by Saudi police and then beaten to death by police with batons.

Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry would not immediately comment on the allegations.

Officials from Pakistan's Interior Ministry were not immediately available for comment, and it was not immediately possible to verify the reported deaths.

Saudi media reported last week that police had raided a party where men were dressed as women and wearing makeup.

The Saudi media reports said about 35 people had been arrested, but did not use the word transgender nor report that anyone had been killed.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Dawn.com
Russian human rights activist Igor Kalyapin (file photo)

PRAGUE -- The chief of a prominent Russian human rights group says that torture in Russian penitentiaries and police stations can only be stopped if police officers and prison guards who practice it are brought to trial and convicted.

Igor Kalyapin, head of the NGO Committee Against Torture, spoke to Current Time TV in Prague on March 6.

He said there is a widespread belief in Russia that the February 26 release of Ildar Dadin, a political activist whose allegations of torture in prison caused an outcry, was the result of Dadin's persistence rather than a sign of a change in official policy or practices.

"Many believe that Dadin turned out to be impossible for the system to chew up, and the system had to spit him out," Kalyapin told Current TIme TV, a Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA. "While in custody, Dadin...inflicted more damage to the system than he inflicted as a free man."

Dadin, 34, is the only person to have been convicted under a 2014 law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest during a 180-day period.

He was serving a 2 1/2-year sentence when the Supreme Court overturned his conviction last month, leading to his release.

Based on reporting by Current Time TV

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