KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — A coalition of non-governmental organisations have labelled a Shariah court’s order for two lesbians to be caned for same-sex relations as torture.
The gathering of 10 NGOs also insisted that the sentence was a breach of the two women’s constitutional rights.
“Criminalisation of consensual sex between adults is a gross violation of human rights, and Malaysia has been called to review and repeal laws that criminalise LGBTQ persons based on consensual sexual acts in many international human rights fora.
“Consensual sex acts between adults is not a crime,” the groups said in a statement.
In Malaysia, both anal and oral sex are criminalised under the Penal Code as carnal intercourse against the order of nature.
The offence is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning upon conviction.
Shariah law also has its own sets of offences for such acts.
The groups then urged for local laws, both civil and religious, to be amended to end the criminalisation of consensual sexual activities.
According to a Sinar Harian report on Sunday, the Terengganu Shariah High Court sentenced two women, allegedly lesbians, to a fine of RM3,300 and six strokes of the cane each after convicting them of homosexual activities.
According to the facts of the case, the two women were arrested on April 8 while in a car at a public square in Dungun and in the midst of sexual activity.
The 10 groups include Justice for Sisters, Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS), All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), SAWO (Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group), Association for Women Lawyers (AWL), Pelangi Campaign, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Malaysia, PLUsos, PLUHO, People Like Us Hang Out!, and Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH).