Malaysian women caned for attempting to have lesbian sex

Two Malaysian women were caned Monday for having lesbian sex in violation of strict Islamic laws, despite an outcry from activists at the "cruel and unjust" punishment.

It's reportedly the first time this type of punishment has been carried out against two women for attempting to have sex, according to Insider.

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.

The women, dressed in white headscarves and clothing, didn't cry or scream but "showed remorse", said Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan.

The women, ages 22 and 32, were struck with a cane six times, according to news reports.

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. They were caned six times each in front of the panel judges and approximately 100 people at the Syariah High Court in Terengganu, and given a RM3,300 fine.

The caning of women is banned under civil law, but allowed under Islamic laws in some states.

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

"Under global 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. In the past weeks, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, minister in the prime minister's department, told reporters that the government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected in May, does not recognize the LGBT community and focuses instead on helping LGBT people toward the "right path" through campaigns, seminars and camps.

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

The public nature of the caning has been criticised, including by Umno's Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, who said it should not have been done publicly as Islamic teachings are that the dignity of each person should be looked after.

Human rights organizations have condemned both the use of caning as a punishment and the fact that someone's sexual preference could be treated as a crime.

It reads: "Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and punishable under federal law, and in some states, shari'a law".

"Sexual acts between two consenting adults should not be criminalised, let alone punished with whipping", Women's Aid Organisation said. 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.

  • Sonia Alvarado