Kuwait overturns law criminalizing ‘imitation of opposite sex’

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Kuwait’s Constitutional Court overturned a law that criminalizes “imitation of the opposite sex,” the court said in a statement on Wednesday.

The court overturned Article 198 of Law no. 16 of 1960 promulgating the Penal Code which was amended in 2007 by Law no. 36.

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The amended article which was overturned by the court stipulated criminalizing “the imitation of the opposite sex in any way.”

The court based its decision on the fact that the article’s text did not include an objective criterion to determine whether a certain act is illegal and to define what is considered an “imitation of the opposite sex” and what is not.

“The text is very general and broad and can be interpreted in more than one way,” the court said, adding that the vagueness of the text may result in misjudging the situation.

“[Due to this vagueness], law-enforcement [authorities] judge a situation based on their evaluation [amid the lack of an objective criterion.] This [paves way] to misjudging cases, which contradicts with the personal freedom protected by the constitution,” it added.

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