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Five Malaysian men jailed and caned for attempting gay sex

Emma Powys Maurice November 7, 2019

A protest against a concert by the openly gay US singer Adam Lambert in 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Syamsul Bahri Muhammad/Getty)

Five men in Malaysia have been jailed, fined and caned for attempting homosexual sex in the Muslim-majority country.

Selangor Shariah High Court near Kuala Lumpur sentenced four of the men to six months in jail and six strokes of the cane as well as fines of RM4,800, local newspaper Harian Metro reported.

Their crime: “Attempting intercourse against the order of nature.”

A fifth man was sentenced to seven months jail, six strokes of the cane and a RM4,900 fine for the same offence, although it’s not clear why he was singled out for harsher punishment.

Homosexuality and all same-sex sexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and carry prison sentences of up to 20 years, although convictions are usually rare.

The five men were detained along with seven others by Islamic enforcement officers during a November 2018 raid on a two-storey apartment.

“The facts show that there was an attempt to carry out intercourse outside of the order of nature and that it was not in the early stages of preparation,” said judge Mohamad Asri Mohamad Tahir, reported by Reuters.

Police block Malaysian Muslim students as they protest against a performance of the openly gay US singer Adam Lambert in Bukit Jalil, outside Kuala Lumpur (AFP/Getty)

LGBT+ rights in Malaysia.

Homosexuality is doubly illegal in Malaysia as it is banned by the country’s secular, colonial-era legal code, as well as its special Islamic courts.

The Human Rights Watch says discrimination against LGBT+ people in the country is “pervasive”, and the capital, Kuala Lumpur, was recently ranked as one of the top 10 worst cities in the world to be LGBT+.

In 1994 the Malaysian government banned all LGBT+ people from appearing in the state-controlled media. Later in 2010 the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia announced it would allow depiction of homosexual characters, but only as long as the characters “repent” or die.

The Malaysian prime minister has repeatedly rejected the notion of LGBT+ rights, dismissing it as “Western values” and comparing LGBT+ acceptance to “walk[ing] around naked”.

The government currently runs a gay ‘rehabilitation programme’ and last year claimed it had ‘cured’ 1,450 people of homosexuality.

More: criminalisation of homosexuality, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sharia law

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