Today’s caning of two women for ‘attempted sexual relations’ with each other in Malaysia has shocked people around the world.
The women were canned six times each in a courtroom in Terengganu state after their 12 August sentencing. An Islamic Sharia Court sentenced the women to six lashes and a fine of RM3,330 (US$814).
About 100 people witnessed the public caning.
Rights groups condemned the sentences. Amnesty International said ‘caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and may amount to torture, and as such prohibited absolutely under international law’.
Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher the caning was ‘a terrible day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia’.
‘To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback in the government’s efforts to improve its human rights record,’ she said.
‘The caning of the two women is a dreadful reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalization that LGBTI people face in the country.’
Regressing to the Middle Ages
But a Muslim activist in Malaysia has gone further, accusing the country of ‘regressing to the Middle Ages’.
Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa heads the Islamic Renaissance Front which is an Islamic think tank.
‘What happened in Terengganu was clearly against the standard of human rights in this century,’ he told FMT in a statement.
‘We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing such humiliating treatment of our sisters.’
The caning would paint a ‘black picture’ of Malaysia which has tried to prove it’s ‘modern, civil and moderate government’.
‘Although it happened in a state not governed by the federal government, such degrading laws should not be allowed in this country,’ he said.
‘Today is a dark day for human rights in Malaysia.’