Malaysia: Two women caned and fined for attempting to have sex

by Abel Hampton September 5, 2018, 3:59
Malaysia: Two women caned and fined for attempting to have sex

Two Malaysian women convicted under Islamic law of attempting to have sex have been caned in public.

Unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment under Islamic law isn't painful or harsh and was meant to educate the women, said Sinwan.

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They were caned at the Sharia High Court in the state capital Kuala Terengganu.

Same-sex relations are abhorred in Malaysia and considered illegal under both secular and religious laws.

They had last month pleaded guilty to breaking Islamic laws and were sentenced to be caned and fined RM3,300 ($800, £619).

The two unnamed women, ages 22 and 32, were arrested in April after Islamic enforcement officers spotted them in a auto together in northeast Terengganu state, according to Agence France-Presse.

In a statement, Amnesty International Malaysia said that people "should not live in fear because they are attracted to people of the same sex" and decried caning as "a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment".

"They (the two Muslim women) are the ones who don't uphold their dignity YB".

A spokesperson for the group predicted: "People will try to track down all LGBTQ people and get them punished".

Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters, who witnessed the ordeal, was concerned about the safety, privacy, harassment, humiliation and trauma of the women. She said Malaysian laws were inconsistent because civil laws prohibit corporal punishment against female prisoners.

The Human Right Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) also strongly condemned the caning, and called for all corporal punishment to end. It's not about the severity of the caning.

Linda Lakhdhir, a legal adviser in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, told CNN that the caning demonstrates that the religious right is "flexing their muscles and making clear that the laws against LGBT activity will be enforced in their state".

"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.

"And this is because we really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned let alone due to their sexuality", he said.

Concerns have been mounting in recent weeks in Malaysia, a multi-ethnic country where some 60 percent of the population is Muslim, about a deteriorating climate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Malaysia is seen as a moderate and stable Muslim-majority country, but Islamic conservatism is on the rise. During a public exhibition, he ordered that pictures of LGBTQ activists be removed, and has been vocal against the gay community.

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