Malaysia: Women caned in public for lesbian act

Malaysia: Two women caned for ‘attempting lesbian sex’

Two Malaysian women convicted of attempting to have lesbian sex in a vehicle have been caned in a religious court.

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.

The women, who were dressed in white headscarves and clothing, sat on stools facing the judges while female prison officers struck their backs using light rattan canes, according to the Associated Press.

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

Malaysia has a dual-track legal system which allows Islamic courts to handle religious and family cases for the country's Muslims, which make up about 60 percent of the population.

The two women were fined by the sharia high court on 12 August, after they pleaded guilty to committing musahaqah, or sexual relations between women.

Wanita MCA chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie, as quoted in The Star, said the public caning punishment violates the Federal Constitution, in which Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that women are exempted from public caning.

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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"People should not live in fear because they are attracted to people of the same sex", Amnesty International Malaysia said in a statement.

The Save Malaysian LGBT Community, which has more than 3,000 followers on Facebook, told PinkNews that these latest developments were "really worrying".

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.

Human rights groups slammed the punishment as a setback for human rights and said it could worsen discrimination against people in Malaysia's lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the MP for Rembau, criticised the punishment on his Twitter account, saying: "Islam teaches us to look after the dignity of every human being". The new government, he added, was voted in "on the premise of inclusion" and must repeal laws that criminalize homosexuality.

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

The Islamic affairs minister has spoken out against homosexuals and ordered pictures of LGBT activists to be removed from a public exhibition, while a transgender woman was brutally attacked in the southern state of Negeri Sembilan.

Malaysia is seen as a moderate and stable Muslim-majority country, but Islamic conservatism is on the rise.

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