2 women caned for ‘attempting lesbian sex’ in Malaysia

Malaysia: Two women caned for ‘attempting lesbian sex’

LGBT rights: Malaysia women caned for attempting to have lesbian sex

Lawyers group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today hit out at the public caning of two women convicted of attempting to have same-sex relations, saying the punishment was abhorrent and unIslamic in nature.

The unidentified women, aged 22 and 23, were fined 806 dollars (3,300 ringgit) in addition to the six strokes of the cane.

In a shocking incident, two lesbian women in Malaysia were caned after being caught attempting to have sex in a parked auto.

"The punishment is not just to punish the offenders, but to also serves as a warning to others that this is wrong".

The punishment meted out to them was the first public caning incident ever witnessed in the country.

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Calling it an "appalling day" for human rights in Malaysia, another activist called the act atrocious.

The case has not only prompted outrage among rights organizations, it has also cast a spotlight on what activists say is an increasing climate of hostility and discrimination against the LGBT community in Malaysia.

About 150 people were present in the courtroom, watching as a lady officer from Kajang Women's Prison carried out the sentence with a cane measuring about a metre.

They pleaded guilty to the charges last month. "It's a sign that the new government condones the use of measures that amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, much like its predecessor", Amnesty International wrote in a press release.

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

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It was the first conviction for same-sex relations and the first time a caning had been carried out in public in Terengganu, Satiful Bahri Mamat, a member of the state executive council, told Reuters news agency.

Under Malaysian civil law caning is banned, but with 60% of Malaysians being Muslim, it is allowed under Islamic laws in some states.

"Not only for LGBT people but all persons because corporal punishment affects all people", Sulathireh said. And that mercy is preferable to punishment, " opposition lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted.

She said: "The public caning of the two women in Malaysia is a terrible reminder of the depth of discrimination LGBTI people face in the country and a sign that the new government condones the use of inhuman and degrading punishments, much like its predecessor".

Santiago said the government was "voted in on the premise of inclusion" and must therefore repeal all laws criminalising homosexuality without delay.

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Malaysian religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa ordered portraits of LGBT activists removed from an arts festival in Penang in early August, sparking an avalanche of criticism.

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