Published: Tue, September 04, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Public caning for lesbian sex unIslamic, says lawyers group

Public caning for lesbian sex unIslamic, says lawyers group

The two women who pleaded guilty to attempting to have same-sex relations in a vehicle were caned six times at the Terengganu Syariah High Court here yesterday.

The women, ages 22 and 32, were caned by a female prison officer, Malaysian news outlets reported.

The two unidentified women were discovered by Islamic officials in April and sentenced last month by a Shariah court to six strokes of a cane and a fine after pleading guilty.

And it was also the first time the kind of punishment that was open to the public.

The public caning took place in the conservative state of Terengganu in the northeast of the country on Monday.

"This case shows a regression for human rights", Sulathireh said. The sentence was conducted behind closed doors in the courtroom.

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Earlier this month, they pleaded guilty to charges of lesbian sex, and were sentenced to six strokes and a RM 3,300 (U.S.$800) fine in a verdict the judge called a lesson for society.

Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan defended the caning of the two unidentified women, insisting that the punishment under Islamic law isn't painful and was meant to teach the women to repent.

Campaigners said it was the first time that women in Malaysia have been caned for violating a sharia regulation which forbids same-sex relations.

Justice for Sisters (JFS) and Sisters in Islam, two other Malaysian pro-LGBT+ groups, said in a joint statement that the lashings constituted "a travesty and a grave miscarriage of justice". "Corporal punishment is a form of torture regardless of your intention".

"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. The Malaysian Bar said the country should not tolerate caning in any form and should repeal all forms of corporal punishment.

"Mercy is preferable to punishment".

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It reads: "Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and punishable under federal law, and in some states, shari'a law". A few weeks ago, authorities removed the portraits of two LGBT rights activists from a public exhibition.

The caning of two women in Malaysia for attempting to have sex has been condemned as "inhuman and degrading".

"And this is because we really need to make sure that no one is publicly caned let alone due to their sexuality", he said.

The punishment, which is banned under civil law in Malaysia, is allowed under Islamic law in the country's dual-track legal system.

Authorities have said the police action was carried out to "mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society".

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