Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Two Malaysian women caned for lesbian sex, incident condemned

Two Malaysian women caned for lesbian sex, incident condemned

Senior politician Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Sept 4) criticised the caning of the two women convicted of lesbian sex in the opposition-led state of Terengganu, saying that it lacked due process and understanding.

The two unnamed women, ages 22 and 32, were arrested in April after Islamic enforcement officers spotted them in a vehicle together in northeast Terengganu state, according to Agence France-Presse.

The sentence was carried out on the two women, aged 22 and 32, yesterday in front of a Shariah judge and around 100 people ― including public onlookers, government agencies' representatives, and members of non-governmental organisations.

Unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment under Islamic law isn't painful or harsh and was meant to educate the women, said Sinwan.

The state follows a Sharia law and it should also be noted that the punishment that the Sharia court ordered was backed by the Malayasian Islamic Party or Parti Islam Se-Malaysia.

Under Malaysian civil law the caning of women is prohibited, but it is permitted under Islamic law in some states that have adopted concurrent sharia laws.

"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", said Mr Satiful, who attended the hearing.

Rights groups had previously urged the Malaysian government to drop the case, which they argued constituted torture under worldwide human rights law.

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She said Malaysia has accepted a dual legal system and all parties should respect the decision. They were sentenced to the caning in August by a Shariah court in Terengganu.

"These inconsistencies create confusion in the jurisdiction of the Prison Department thus directly affecting the rights of women in Malaysia protected by Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution against gender discrimination", the NGOs said. It's not about the severity of the caning.

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

Lawmaker Charles Santiago said the government must repeal all laws that criminalise homosexuality. "We really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned. due to their sexuality", he said.

The caning occurred amid a climate of fear and discrimination against Malaysia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Malaysia is now embroiled in a political furore over LGBT+ rights, sparked by government minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa's order to an arts festival to remove its portraits of local queer activists last month.

Malaysia's Muslims have generally been seen as moderate but there are concerns the community is becoming more conservative.

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