After serving in the United States Army for seven years, Monique Coverson and her girlfriend Larissa returned to Kuwait as military contractors. Now they are looking at 25 years in a Kuwati prison.
According to Monique’s family, their house was raided in May and police confiscated one ounce of a “tobacco-like” substance. It was sent to Germany to be tested and the substance was found to be K2, a legal substance in Kuwait.
The women remained in jail for eight months while they waited to go to court. When it came to trial, the ounce of K2 turned into a pound of marijuana and on January 12, Monique and Larissa were sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Monique’s family claims these charges were falsified and the real reason the women were sent to jail was for homosexuality. Though being gay in Kuwait is not outlawed, the Kuwaiti penal code has provisions that can easily target the LGBT community.
For example, two men that get caught in sexual activity could be put in jail for up to six years however it is legal for women to participate in same-sex sexual activity. Gays and lesbians are now allowed to serve in the military nor can they adopt. There is no recognition of same-sex couples nor are they protected from discrimination in employment, purchasing goods or services and the use of hate speech.
Monique’s family has put up a change.org petition asking the U.S. government to look into the wrongful imprisonment of Monique and Larissa.
“To this day, I cannot understand how the U.S. government has allowed them to remain in prison. They were not in possession of an illegal substance, yet their freedom and belongings have been taken away from them. They are being held captive in a foreign land for a crime they did not commit, with no help in sight,” the petition reads.
Right now the petition has over 78,700 signatures and has surpassed the original goal of 75,000.
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