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05 September 2018, 03:56 | Tara Lloyd
Malaysia Canes Two Women for Same-Sex Relations Amid Growing Concerns Over LGBT Discrimination
Two Malaysian women convicted of attempting to have lesbian sex in a auto have been caned in a religious court.
It is the first time anybody has been convicted for same-sex relations in the state and the first time a caning has been carried out in public there, Satiful Bahri Mamat, a member of the state executive council who attended, said.
The BBC reports that the women, aged 22 and 32, were each caned six times in the Sharia High Court in the state of Terengganu.
Both wore Muslim headscarves and sat on stools as the punishments were carried out in front of about 100 onlookers.
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Islamic courts handle the religious and family matters of Muslim citizens. 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.
Unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment used under Islamic laws isn't meant to serve as a lesson rather than being painful or harsh, according to Sinwan.
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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 ― Those who disagree with state laws enabling public caning of Muslim offenders should push for the laws to be changed in the state legislative assemblies, Parti Amanah Negara communications director Khalid Samad said today.
Rights groups had previously urged the Malaysian government to drop the case, which they argued constituted torture under global human rights law.
The country operates a dual-track legal system.
Thilaga Sulathireh, from the group Justice for Sisters, who witnessed the ordeal, was concerned about the safety, privacy, harassment, humiliation and trauma of the women. And that mercy is preferable to punishment, " opposition lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted.
But, she continued: "As long as draconian legislation which criminalises Malaysians based on their sexual orientation and gender identity remains on the books, LGBTI people will continue to be at risk of this type of punishment".
The caning is believed to be the first punishment of its kind for the state, and it drew widespread condemnation from human rights groups.
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