Two Malaysian women have been caned after an Islamic law court convicted them of having lesbian sex. It led to an outcry from activists at the ‘cruel and unjust’ punishment. In the past, Malaysian women have been caned for adultery. But it is said to be the first case of such a punishment imposed on women for being lesbians.
What happened to the women
The women, aged 22 and 32, were caught attempting to engage in sexual acts in a car in a public square. They pleaded guilty to committing ‘musahaqah’, meaning sexual relations between women. 3,300 Malaysian Ringgit (US$799) fine has been charged from the women and they were also sentenced to 6 lashings.
This raised concerns around growing intolerance toward the LGBT community in Malaysia. Many activists have also criticized some officials for making homophobic remarks in recent weeks.
“Sexual intercourse between people of the same sex is forbidden in Islam. It is an offence and morally wrong,” the prosecutor, Muhamad Khasmizan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
After the judge read out their sentence,the officials meted out the punishment using thin canes in front of a packed courtroom, according to a journalist in the court.
The younger woman sobbed but the elder one showed no reaction.
How the activists are reacting
Thilaga Sulathireh from rights group Justice for Sisters condemned the court’s decision as a form of torture. According to her, there have been previous cases of lesbian couples being arrested. But it was not known if they were convicted.
“Consensual sex between adults is not a crime. This is precedence and it will increase discrimination toward LGBT people,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Earlier a minister ordered the removal of portraits of two LGBT advocates from a public photography exhibition. He said that they promoted gay activities which sparked criticism from rights groups.
Source – thejakartapost.com, rawstory.com, dailymail.co.uk, rt.com