Activists condemn "inhuman" caning of Malaysian lesbian

Wednesday, 05 Sep, 2018

Two women who were sentenced to be caned six times each after pleading guilty to same-sex relations by the Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court did not shout nor scream.

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.

Just yesterday (Sept 3), two Muslim women were caned in public for attempting sexual acts on each other three weeks ago.

His department is responsible for passing religious laws, which exist alongside civil legislation in Malaysia's legal system.

Lee also spoke out generally on Malaysia's use of caning, stating it "must end the use of caning and repeal the laws that impose these torturous punishments completely".

"I'm a practising Muslim, but I don't share that interpretation and certainly that sort of action to publicly cane without proper due process and understanding", Datuk Seri Anwar, who is president-elect of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, one of the ruling coalition partners, said at a press conference in Makati City.

"Under worldwide human rights law, corporal punishment constitutes a form of torture", Varughese said in a statement calling for an immediate moratorium on all forms of corporal punishment.

The Justice for Sisters activist said the group was concerned the case would set a unsafe precedent for the increased policing of morality and sexual identities in Malaysia.

Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters who witnessed the caning, said she was shocked by the public spectacle.

Rights groups assailed the new government for discrimination against gay men and lesbians and for continuing to allow a form of corporal punishment outlawed in most of the world.

"It did not look forceful and we are satisfied because proper procedure was followed in which the caning did not break the skin", said association deputy president Fazru Anuar Yusof.

"We conduct activities with Persatuan Insaf [a non-governmental organisation] to engage the transgender community to have strong ties with the religion and guide them back to the original path", he said.

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

"Mercy is preferable to punishment". "We really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned. due to their sexuality", he said.

Malaysia is seen as a moderate and stable Muslim-majority country, but there has been a shift toward increasingly conservative Islam in recent years. During a public exhibition, he ordered that pictures of LGBTQ activists be removed, and has been vocal against the gay community.