Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Public caning of Malaysian lesbian women blasted as 'atrocious' by rights activists

Members of Nepal's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community prepare for a gay pride parade in Kathmandu Members of Nepal's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community prepare for a gay pride parade in Kathmandu
Charlie Simmons | 04 September, 2018, 13:40

In a statement, she added: "This is a awful day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia".

In the award-winning hit U.S. sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Blocker plays the character of Hitchcock, one of several inept police officers working the day shift in the fictional NY police precinct.

Yesterday, two women found guilty for attempting to have lesbian sex were caned six times in public at the Terengganu Shariah Court as around 100 people watched the punishment.

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

The women, aged 22 and 32, were caned in the Sharia courtroom in Terengganu around 10 am local time (7.30 am Indian Standard Time), The Guardian reported.

But in an example of how divided activists and some government officials are, Terengganu Bar Council Chairman Sallehudin Harun said he was impressed with the caning and said it puts the shariah court in a "positive light".

Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan said unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment under Islamic laws isn't painful or harsh and was meant to educate the women so they will repent. "Malaysia must end the use of caning and repeal the laws that impose these torturous punishments completely", she said.

Wanita MCA chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie, as quoted in The Star, said the public caning punishment violates the Federal Constitution, in which Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that women are exempted from public caning.

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Ahead of the punishment, Gwen Lee, Amnesty International's Malaysia head, slammed the punishment as "cruel and unjust".

Two Malaysian Muslim women convicted under Islamic laws for attempting to have sex were caned on Monday, Reuters quoted government officials as saying.

"While Suhakam is aware that the law provides for punishment by caning, the court ought to have exercised judicial discretion, in accordance with principles of compassion, mercy and human dignity in Islam".

Human rights groups said it was the first time women have been caned in Malaysia for engaging in homosexual relations. "The caning of the two women is a terrible reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalisation that LGBTI people face in the country", the non-governmental organisation said.

Earlier last month, a minister ordered that portraits of LGBT activists be removed from a public exhibition.

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

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.

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