Two Malaysian women have been fined and sentenced to a caning in Malaysia’s north for having sex with each other.
The women were convicted for “attempting to have lesbian sex”, Reuters reported.
The women, who are 22 and 32, were charged under sharia law, fined 3,300 ringit – around $1,100 AUD – and sentenced to six strokes of the cane.
It’s the first time anyone has been convicted over having same-sex relations in Terengganu.
Amnesty International has condemned the ruling and the concerns it has raised for Malaysia’s LGBTI community.
“This deeply cruel sentence marks yet another severe setback in Malaysia’s treatment of LGBTI people, which is increasingly troubling,” said Gwen Lee, Interim Executive Director of the organisation in Malaysia.
“Across the country, LGBTI people are facing a climate of growing discrimination and persecution.
“Rulings such as this only affirm that Malaysia is becoming a more hostile place for its LGBTI population.
“Caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment amounting to torture and is prohibited under international law.
“As well as immediately overturning this brutal sentence, the Malaysian authorities must repeal the laws that impose these torturous punishments and ratify the UN Convention against Torture.”
The prosecutor in the case alleged that one of the women was unclothed when they were discovered and that a dildo was found in the car.
The two women are currently on bail with the punishment set to be carried out on August 28. They face jail time if they are unable to pay the fine.
Earlier this year, a university in Malaysia held a competition where students could submit ideas for how to “convert” LGBTI people.
In February, a Malaysian newspaper came under fire for publishing a checklist instructing readers in “how to spot a gay”.
Government officials have recently spoken out against LGBTI rights, including having portraits of activists removed, and last year the Malaysian government actively encouraged young people to create anti-LGBTI propaganda videos.
The caning sentence mimics the same cruelty that has been enacted in Indonesia recently, with another in a long string of sharia law-related public lashings being carried out in July.