Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Malaysia: Lesbians BEATEN with cane for ‘trying to have sex’

Malaysia: Lesbians BEATEN with cane for ‘trying to have sex’

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

The sharia high court in Terengganu, a state in Malaysia's conservative northeast, sentenced the two women to six strokes of the cane and a fine of 3,300 Malaysian ringgit (US$800), after they pleaded guilty to the charges.

Both wore Muslim headscarves and sat on stools as the punishments were carried out in front of about 100 onlookers.

Two women have been caned in a Malaysian courtroom for "attempting to have lesbian sex".

Lesbian sex is illegal for Muslims in Malaysia under Islamic laws, but not for the country's substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.

On Aug 12, the Syariah High Court fined the women RM3,300 and ordered that they be caned six times each for committing musahaqah (sexual relations between women) under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu).

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Unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment used under Islamic laws isn't meant to serve as a lesson rather than being painful or harsh, according to Sinwan.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Bar Council chairman Sallehudin Harun, who also represented the Bar Council, said he would prepare a short report on the caning and present it to the council.

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".

She said Malaysia has accepted a dual legal system and all parties should respect the decision.

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.

The caning is believed to be the first punishment of its kind for the state, and it drew widespread condemnation from human rights groups. "And that mercy is preferable to punishment." .

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"Not only for LGBT people but all persons because corporal punishment affects all people", Sulathireh said.

The caning comes amid a climate of intolerance against LGBT people in Malaysia, human rights activists say.

But Anwar said there was nothing the Pakatan Harapan government could do as Islamic laws come under state jurisdiction.

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

Authorities also removed the portraits of two LGBT activists from a public exhibition a few weeks ago, with the country's religious minister, Mujahid Yusuf, later saying that the government did not support the promotion of LGBT culture.

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