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Malaysian Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

Malaysian Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment
Two Malaysian Muslim women convicted under Islamic laws of attempting to have sexual relations were caned Monday in a rare public whipping that was slammed by rights activists as a grave miscarriage of justice.

Lawyers and activists said the women, aged 22 and 32, were seated on stools facing the judges and given six strokes from a light rattan cane on their backs by female prison officers. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in a Shariah courtroom in northeast Terengganu state, they said.

Muslim Lawyers' Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan said unlike caning under civil laws, the punishment under Islamic laws isn't painful or harsh and was meant to educate the women so they will repent. The women, dressed in white headscarves and clothing, didn't cry or scream but "showed remorse," he said.

"Repentance is the ultimate aim for their sin," he said.

Human rights groups slammed the punishment as a setback to human rights and said it could worsen discrimination against people in Malaysia's lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community.

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