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Four Malaysian men caned for having gay sex

Activists are concerned about the worsening climate for the gay community

2019-11-19

Words: Steve Brown

Four men in Malaysia have been caned for having gay sex.

Malaysia retains its British colonial era criminal ban on sodomy (as well as oral sex), broadly defined to include both heterosexual and homosexual acts, with possible punishment including fines, prison sentences of up to twenty years, and even corporal punishment.

In the Muslim-majority country, activists say the climate is worsening for the gay community and four men, aged between 26 to 37, received six strokes of the cane each in a prison outside Kuala Lumpur this week.

They received the lashings for allegedly attempting ‘intercourse against the order of nature’, Amnesty International reported.

Each of the men admitted committing the offence last year and have been fined and received a jail sentence of up to seven months as well as the barbaric punishment.

According to Amnesty, religious authorities found out about the private event after monitoring messages between the men and sent a raiding party of around 50 officers to detain them.

A fifth man was also convicted but not caned as he is appealing the punishment. Another six men were arrested and are facing charges.

"These vicious punishments... are the actual crimes being committed here," said Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Amnesty's Malaysia executive director.

"Malaysia should be creating an environment in which LGBT people are free from discrimination, not ensnaring and beating innocent people."