KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin criticised today the public caning of two Terengganu women under Shariah law for attempting to have lesbian sex.
The Umno leader said Islam teaches one to respect the dignity of another, and to have mercy.
“There are other ways to handle the LGBT issue. Although it is enshrined in the laws, carrying out public caning should not have been done.
“Islam teaches us to look after the dignity of every human being. And that mercy is preferable to punishment,” Khairy wrote on his Twitter account in Malay, appending a news report of the women’s caning which took place this morning.
Banyak lagi cara untuk menangani isu LGBT. Walaupun termaktub dalam undang2, tak wajar dilaksanakan sebatan di khalayak ramai. Islam teaches us to look after the dignity of every human being. And that mercy is preferable to punishment. https://t.co/FqkTqeoZeA— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) 3 September 2018
Earlier, two women’s rights groups slammed the Kuala Terengganu Shariah High Court for publicly caning the women today, describing the punishment as “a travesty and a grave miscarriage of justice”.
Justice for Sisters and Sisters in Islam said the punishment can only be meted against prisoners, but the duo were not imprisoned after they were charged and found guilty of attempting to have lesbian sex.
“Prison Act 1955 and Prison Regulations 2000 stipulates that caning can only be carried out against prisoners. As the sentences of the two women did not include imprisonment, they were not considered prisoners as defined by the Prison Act and Prison Regulations.
“This, despite the fact that they were sentenced to caning. The Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court and Malaysian Prisons Department therefore may have acted against the law in its execution today,” they said in a joint statement.
The groups also questioned Putrajaya’s involvement in the events, since it was carried out by an officer from the Prisons Department under the Home Ministry
The two women were punished by six strokes of the cane, under Sections 30 and 59(1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu) 2001, after they pleaded guilty to lesbian sexual relations.
In addition to being caned, the women aged 22 and 32 were also required to pay a fine of RM3,300.
Around 100 people witnessed the punishment in the courtroom, including public onlookers, government agencies’ representatives, and NGO members.