(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should drop the case against two women for same-sex relations before their scheduled caning on August 28, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. A court convicted the two on August 12 of violating a state Shariah law that criminalizes sex between women and sentenced each to six strokes of the cane and an RM 3,300 (US$800) fine.
The Malaysian government should ban the punishment of caning, which constitutes torture under international human rights law.
“The scheduled caning of two women is the latest blow to Malaysia’s LGBT community, which had hoped for better protection under the country’s new government,” said Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights program. “This prosecution and punishment will only fuel the recent wave of homophobia and transphobia in Malaysia.”
Under Malaysia’s Constitution, each state is empowered to enact laws governing offenses by Muslims against Islamic precepts. The state of Terengganu, like most states in Malaysia, has outlawed sexual relations between women, or musahaqah. Local media quoted the prosecutor in the case as saying this will be the first time women have been caned for same-sex relations in the state. Read more via HRW