Five men have pleaded not guilty to the violent assault of a trans woman which left her hospitalized for five days in Malaysia.
The men – including three teenagers aged between 16 and 18 – allegedly beat the woman with a plastic pipe and wooden stick. She was hospitalized with broken ribs and ruptured spleen
The alleged attack took place in the western city of Seremban on 15 August, but three of the attackers remain at large.
‘They hit me and stepped on me repeatedly, I couldn’t move,’ the victim told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
‘I tried to call out for help, but I couldn’t speak.’
Five of the perpetrators faced court today (24 August) charged with voluntarily causing grievous hurt using dangerous weapons or means. If convicted they face up to 20 years in jail, a fine or caning.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin asked the Sessions Court to set bail at RM20,000 (US$4,867).
But their defence attorney’s asked for a lower bail rate because those charged were students from lower income families. The judge reduced the bail to RM10,000 (US$2,443).
Malaysia’s LGBTI crackdown
The violent attack comes amid growing tensions in Malaysia surrounding LGBTI issues.
LGBTI issues have faced immense scrutiny this month. The removal of two portraits of LGBTI people from an exhibition made national headlines.
Shockingly, a local Sharia court judge also issued Malaysia’s first corporal punishment sentencing for same-sex relations. The judge sentenced two women to six lashes for ‘attempted sexual relations’. In his ruling he said the severe punishment was necessary to deter others.
‘[This]adequate punishment must be meted out so that this becomes a lesson and reminder to not just the two of you, but the members of society,’ the judge said in his ruling.