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Malaysian court delays caning of two women for having gay sex

Ella Braidwood August 28, 2018
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TOPSHOT - A religious officer canes an Acehnese youth onstage as punishment for dating outside of marriage, which is against sharia law, outside a mosque in Banda Aceh on August 1, 2016. The strictly Muslim province, Aceh has become increasingly conservative in recent years and is the only one in Indonesia implementing Sharia law. / AFP / CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman is caned in Aceh, Indonesia, where Sharia law is in effect (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

A Malaysian religious court has pushed back the caning of two women for having sex with each other, after an outcry from LGBT+ activists.

The two women were both handed a RM3,300 (£630) fine and sentenced to six lashings each, which had been set to take place on  Monday (August 27).

However, the Shariah High Court in Terengganu announced on Tuesday (August 28) that it has delayed the caning by a week to September 3 because of “technical reasons,” according to local media reports.

According to English-language publication The Star, court registrar Nurulhuda Abd Rahman said: “A few agencies will be involved in the punishment, and there are some technical issues that have yet to be resolved,” adding: “Therefore, it was best to postpone the punishment to a later date.”

The women, aged  32 and 22, pleaded guilty after sharia enforcement officials in the northeastern state of Terengganu found them having sex in a car with a dildo, according to local news outlet Sinar Harian.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Malaysian authorities to ban the punishment of caning following the sentencing of the two women.

Justice For Sisters (JFS), a Malaysian LGBT+ rights group, called the punishment “a gross violation” of the women’s “dignity and human rights.”

In a statement on the grassroots organisation’s blog, it added that “the erroneous and prejudicial sentence… amounts to torture.”

The two women have been released on bail.

Justice For Sisters said that the ruling was “a gross violation” of the women’s “dignity and human rights.” (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

It comes after the Malaysian Islamic Party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan called on the Malaysian government to take “stern action” against LGBT+ people,”instead of catering to the LGBT community’s requests,” reports English-language newspaper The New Straits Times. 

Gay sex is banned in the country, which groups it together with bestiality in a list of offences which are “against the order of nature.”

LGBT+ people are stigmatised in the socially conservative country.

Earlier in August, Malaysian police raided a gay bar in the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, which authorities have said was carried out to “mitigate the LGBT culture from spreading into our society.”

Also in August, Malaysia’s religious affairs minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa ordered an arts festival to remove portraits of local LGBT+ activists.

 

 

An Indonesian woman (R) walks prior to receiving 100 lashes of the cane for having sex outside marriage, which is against Sharia law, in Banda Aceh on November 28, 2016. Aceh is the only province in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law. People can face floggings for a range of offences -- from gambling, to drinking alcohol, to gay sex. / AFP / CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
“Consensual sex acts between adults is not a crime” (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

Last year in Indonesia, a gay couple was sentenced to 83 lashes each as a legal punishment for having sex.

And in April, a Malaysian university held a contest to convert gay students.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia, based on the island of Penang, advertised the competition as “a campaign to invite friends who have [a] disorder in [their] sexual orientation to return to their natural nature in a worthwhile way.”

This came just two months after a newspaper in the country published a checklist which provided guidance about “how to spot a gay”.

Related topics: Asia, Asia, court, Gay, lashings, Law, lesbian, Malaysia, Malaysia, Sex, sharia

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