By: Jack MacNamara, Staff Writer

Police serving the conservative government of Indonesia’s Aceh province, conducted a crackdown on a group of transgender women on Sunday Jan. 28, which resulted in the women being forced to shave their heads and forcing the transgenders to wear men’s clothing.

Police took the 12 trans women into custody and took them to a hair salon to have their heads shaved. Police state that this was done as a way to force the 12 transgender women to become men. “Coaching” them to become men,” North Aceh Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata, explained to Indonesia state media.

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“In addition, the officers also nurtured them by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out,” said North Aceh Police Chief Surianata.

Surinata further added that the 12 transgender women will be held for three days for more “counseling and coaching,”. They women are accused of violating the province’s religious law.

According to the Guardian, the North Aceh province of Indonesia is the only remaining area that is still under Muslim Sharia law.

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Human rights groups worldwide spoke out against this weekend’s arrests of the 12 women. “The police’s so-called ‘re-education’ of transgender people is not only humiliating and inhumane, it is also unlawful and a clear breach of their human rights,” said Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid. “Such incidents must be promptly and effectively investigated.” said Hamid.

Indonesian LGBT rights activist Hartoyo said…“It’s very strange that officers in Sunday’s incident would arrest innocent people and cut off their hair,” said Hartoyo. “It’s barbaric.”

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