Two Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex

Two Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex

Two Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex

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 vehicle.

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On 12 August they were found guilty of "musahaqah", sexual acts between women, in the Terengganu sharia high court and sentenced to six lashes each, in addition to a 3,300 Malaysian Ringgit (£620) fine.

The country operates a dual-track legal system and Islamic courts can handle religious and family matters for Muslim citizens, as well as cases such as adultery.

"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", he said. They were caned six times each in front of the panel judges and approximately 100 people at the Syariah High Court in Terengganu, and given a RM3,300 fine.

Amnesty International's Malaysia Researcher, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, told PinkNews that Monday's canings represented "the first time to our knowledge that caning has been meted out for consensual same-sex relations in Malaysia".

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.

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

Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan defended the caning of the two unidentified women, insisting that the punishment under Islamic law isn't painful and was meant to teach the women to repent. "Not only for LGBT people but all persons because corporal punishment affects all people". "The caning of the two women is a awful reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalisation that LGBTI people face in the country", the non-governmental organisation said.

"This case shows a regression for human rights", Sulathireh said.

The public nature of the caning has been criticised, including by Umno's Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, who said it should not have been done publicly as Islamic teachings are that the dignity of each person should be looked after.

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.

The Human Right Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) also strongly condemned the caning, and called for all corporal punishment to end.

Human rights and LGBT activists blasted the public whipping as a form of torture.

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