Duo in lesbian sex case whipped six times at Terengganu Syariah High Court

KUALA TERENGGANU: Two women who pleaded guilty to attempting to have same-sex relations were caned six times at the Syariah High Court here on Monday (Sept 3).

The sentence was conducted behind closed doors in the courtroom after it was read out by Syariah High Court Judge Kamalruazmi Ismail.

It was also witnessed by State Syariah chief judge Wan Mohd Zakri Wan Mohd and state senior syariah judge Rosdi Harun.

The accused, aged 22 and 32, were led to a stool where two female officers from the Kajang Women's prison carried out the sentence in turns.

The older woman, aged 32, did not wince when the cane hit her back with the strength almost similar to a forceful tap.

However, the younger woman, aged 22, started to sob when the cane hit her.

Observers also noticed that this time, the force was slightly stronger than the one applied on the older woman.

Syariah caning is not similar to civil whippings, in that it is not meant to hurt and the cane should not be swung from a level above the head.

The officer carrying out the sentence was also advised to cane the accused at her own time or pace using only medium force.

The whole session was over in six minutes.

Observers from the Terengganu Syariah Lawyers Association and the state Bar Council said they were satisfied with the execution of the sentence.

"It did not look forceful and we are satisfied because proper procedure was followed in which the caning did not break the skin," said Terengganu Syariah Lawyers Association deputy president Fazru Anuar Yusof.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Bar Council Chairman Sallehudin Harun, who also represented the Bar Council said he will prepare a short report on the caning and present it to the Bar Council.

"Today's sentence will give the real picture about Syariah caning.

"I was confused about it before because we imagined that it would be forceful but after seeing it today, it puts the Syariah court in a positive light and this issue shouldn't be exaggerated.

"The sentencing went smoothly and did not cause the accused any harm," he said.

About 150 people were present in the courtroom and among them were state exco chairman of Syariah implementation, education and higher education Satiful Bahri Mamat, Kuala Terengganu MP Ahmad Amzad Hashim and State Assembly Speaker Yahaya Ali.

The women were supposed to have been caned on Aug 28 but had their sentence postponed to today.

On Aug 12, the Syariah High Court fined the women RM3,300 and ordered that they be caned six times each after they pleaded guilty to committing musahaqah (sexual relations between women) under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu).

The sentence drew the ire of many human rights groups, including the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

Suhakam in a statement on Aug 15 described the punishment as humiliating and demeaning.

Amnesty International Malaysia has also called for the government to repeal laws that impose punishment on marginalised communities.
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