Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Disagree with public caning? Push for state law changes, says Khalid Samad

Disagree with public caning? Push for state law changes, says Khalid Samad

She said: "The public caning of the two women in Malaysia is a awful reminder of the depth of discrimination LGBTI people face in the country and a sign that the new government condones the use of inhuman and degrading punishments, much like its predecessor".

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.

Thilaga Sulathireh from the group Justice for Sisters also called it "a regression of human rights in Malaysia".

Effective July 2018, access to full reports will only be available with a subscription. In addition to the civil court system, the constitution...

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and punishable under a colonial-era sodomy law that carries a 20-year prison sentence, while strict Islamic laws that apply to Malaysian Muslims, but not people from other religious backgrounds, prohibit sexual relations between women.

But in an example of how divided activists and some government officials are, Terengganu Bar Council Chairman Sallehudin Harun said he was impressed with the caning and said it puts the shariah court in a "positive light". They pled guilty to committing "musahaqah", meaning sexual relations between women, in August and were sentenced to six lashings and a 3,300 Malaysian Ringgit (US$799) fine.

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.

"Under global human rights law, corporal punishment constitutes a form of torture", Varughese said in a statement calling for an immediate moratorium on all forms of corporal punishment.

The women, who were dressed in white, didn't cry or scream but "showed remorse", he said.

A spokesperson for the group predicted: "People will try to track down all LGBTQ people and get them punished. Corporal punishment is a form of torture regardless of your intention".

The case has sparked widespread condemnation and focused attention on what rights groups say is a deteriorating climate for the gay community in the Muslim-majority country.

Under Malaysian civil law caning is banned, but with 60% of Malaysians being Muslim, it is allowed under Islamic laws in some states.

"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.

Malaysia's religious minister Mujahid Yusuf later said the government does not support the promotion of LGBT+ culture. He said Malaysia had seen a worrying rise in anti-LGBT sentiment in recent months, including a violent assault by several men against a transgender woman last month.

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