Caned for Being Lesbian: Sharia, Sex and Malaysia

Published September 5th, 2018 - 11:40 GMT
An image shows two women who were each caned six times on Sept. 3, 2018, in Malaysia.
(Photo from EPA-EFE)
An image shows two women who were each caned six times on Sept. 3, 2018, in Malaysia. (Photo from EPA-EFE)

The news of two lesbian women who have been caned in Malaysia after being caught attempting to have sex in a parked car, has been denounced by Malaysians and human right groups.

On Monday morning, the two Muslim hijabi women were caned in a courtroom in Terengganu city, to the east of Kuala Lumpur, a city that is governed by the Islamic law. A law that criminalizes having sex in public along with homosexuality.

Each one of the two women was canned six times for having a sex in a parked car in addition to paying a fine of around $800. According to witnesses who attended the caning, one of the judges said it was the first time a punishment of this kind takes place in public.

Another witness, who is the deputy President of an association for the Muslim lawyers said the women were not screaming or crying as the caning was not painful or harsh, rather they “showed remorse”.

Human Rights Watch condemned the act as a violation of human rights that tarnished the reputation of Malaysia as a rights respecting nation.

The LGBT+ community in Malaysia expressed their outrage. They are facing a worsening climate in a country that imposes strict civil and Islamic laws on homosexuality.

Several activists condemned the act. Pang Khee Teik, an editor in an online resource hub for Malaysian LGBT+ community, tweeted about the issue.

Many Malaysians went to question the government’s persistence on punishing homosexuals in a time they are ignoring reports on pedophiles and horrific reports on the sex trafficking of children in malaysia.

A few Malaysian MPs stood up for the girls, and urged authorities to abolish any laws that criminalize homosexuality.

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