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Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex

Malaysian women caned under Islamic law for lesbian sex

Two women were publicly caned by a Malaysian Shariah court on Monday for allegedly having sex, a punishment that drew global rebuke as both cruel and indicative of growing concerns about LGBT discrimination in the country.

The punishments came amid the new Malaysian government's rising rhetoric against homosexuality and follows weeks of attacks against members of the LGBT community.

Effective July 2018, access to full reports will only be available with a subscription. The couple received their lashings at the Shariah High Court in Kuala Terengganu, a region of Malaysia known for being highly conservative.

In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Islamic courts handle the religious and family matters of Muslim citizens.

He said the caning of the women has its origins in the "skewed and narrow interpretation of religious laws".

The sentence was handed down last month after the women, who are 32 and 22, pleaded guilty to having sex in a vehicle.

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.

"To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback in the government's efforts to improve its human rights record", said Rachel Chhoa-Howard of Amnesty International.

Charles Santiago, a lawmaker who is part of the governing coalition, said the punishment was "outrageous" and "a form of torture".

Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters who witnessed the caning, said she was shocked by the public spectacle. The most shocking fact was also that the duo were caned in public among hundred of onlookers.

"It's a regression of human rights in Malaysia".

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

According to The Star, caning under Islamic law is not similar to caning carried out for crimes under civil law.

"The Malaysian authorities must immediately repeal repressive laws, outlaw torturous punishments and ratify the UN Convention Against Torture", the group said.

"Sexual acts between two consenting adults should not be criminalised, let alone punished with whipping".

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