Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Malaysian women caned for attempting to have lesbian sex

Malaysian women caned for attempting to have lesbian sex

The two, aged 22 and 32, were each given six strokes of the cane in an Islamic law court in the conservative state of Terengganu, which is governed by the Pan-Malaysian Islamist Party. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in a Shariah courtroom in northeast Terengganu state, they said.

The two women caned on Monday, aged 22 and 32, were arrested by sharia law enforcement officers this April, after they were found attempting to engage in sexual acts in a auto.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 ― Those who disagree with state laws enabling public caning of Muslim offenders should push for the laws to be changed in the state legislative assemblies, Parti Amanah Negara communications director Khalid Samad said today. "Repentance is the ultimate aim for their sin".

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty's Malaysia researcher, said: "To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback on the government's efforts to improve its human rights records".

"People should not live in fear because they are attracted to people of the same sex. The Malaysian authorities must immediately repeal repressive laws, outlaw torturous punishments and ratify the U.N. Convention Against Torture".

The Justice for Sisters activist said the group was concerned the case would set a risky precedent for the increased policing of morality and sexual identities in Malaysia.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and Muslims can be tried in shariah courts. The state's Sharia high court sentenced them August 12 to six strokes of a cane for "sexual relations between women" and fined them the equivalent of about $800.

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Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters who witnessed the caning, said she was shocked by the public spectacle. It's not about the severity of the caning.

A reformist alliance took power in Malaysia at historic May elections, fuelling hopes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people might face less discrimination in a country where authorities have routinely targeted them in the past. And it was also the first time the kind of punishment that was open to the public.

"It did not look forceful and we are satisfied because proper procedure was followed in which the caning did not break the skin", said association deputy president Fazru Anuar Yusof.

"Mercy is preferable to punishment".

"Sexual acts between two consenting adults should not be criminalised, let alone punished with whipping", Women's Aid Organisation said.

Reportedly the situation for LGBT communityis getting harder and harder in Malaysia. "I have consistently repeated in Parliament that we do not support the promotion of LGBT culture in Malaysia", he said at the time.

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