KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) has today written to Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah to urge Putrajaya to stop the caning of two women found guilty of homosexual activities by the Terengganu Shariah Court.
Citing Saifuddin’s recent pledge to push for the ratification of six international human rights conventions, Hakam president Gurdial Singh said issuing a stop order on the sentence would be a “good opportunity” to show the Federal Government’s commitment on the matter.
“Given this initiative, it is appropriate and timely that the government announces an immediate moratorium on all forms of caning whether related to Penal Code or Syariah Criminal Offences.
“The moratorium on caning will indicate an assured commitment and a necessary first step towards preventing any form of torture by the state,” he said in the letter to Saifuddin.
It was reported that the Terengganu Shariah High Court sentenced two women to a fine of RM3,300 and six strokes of the cane each.
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 sentence is to be executed next Tuesday (August 28).
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.