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

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

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

Two Malaysian women accused of pursuing a sexual relationship were caned in an Islamic court Monday, setting off an outcry from rights groups who said the country's political transformation this year had done little to ensure equal treatment of all citizens. The two unidentified women were discovered by Islamic officials in April and sentenced last month by a Shariah court to six strokes of a cane and a fine after pleading guilty.

The case has put Malaysia under the global spotlight for its laws against consensual sexual activities between adults and for the corporal punishment imposed. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in an Islamic court in the conservative northeast state of Terengganu.

State executive council member Satiful Bahri Mamat told Reuters: "Sharia criminal procedure allows the court to determine where the sentence will be carried out, and requires that it must be witnessed by a number of other Muslims".

The Muslim women, ages 22 and 32, were struck six times with a rattan cane on their backs by female prison officers as they sat on stools facing judges.

Caning under Islamic law is carried out with a relatively thin cane on subjects who are fully clothed, and is more about humiliation than causing pain.

"At a time when Malaysia would like to posture as a modern, civil and moderate government, this episode paints a black picture of this country", he said.

Malaysian women's groups Justice for Sisters and Sisters in Islam called for a review of laws that allowed the caning of women.

Amnesty International said it was a "dreadful reminder of the depth of discrimination LGBT people face in the country and a sign that the new government condones the use of inhuman and degrading punishments, much like its predecessor".

"This is a bad day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia", Amnesty International's Malaysia Researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement. It's not about the severity of the caning. A few weeks ago, authorities removed the portraits of two LGBT rights activists from a public exhibition. "Corporal punishment is a form of torture regardless of your intention".

Lawmaker Charles Santiago said the government must repeal all laws that criminalize homosexuality.

Authorities have said the police action was carried out to "mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society".

A transgender woman was beaten up by a group of assailants in Seremban, south of Kuala Lumpur on August 15, in what activists said was part of a growing hostility towards gay and transgender people. "We really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned. due to their sexuality", he said.

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