Kuala Lumpur, Sep 6 (IANS) Malyasian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday condemned the caning of two women charged by an Islamic court for having lesbian sex and said they should have been shown compassion.
In a video posted on his official Facebook page, Mahathir said the sentence, executed in Terengganu state in northeast Malaysia on Monday, painted Islam in a poor light and did not reflect the religion’s ideals of justice and compassion.
Being their first offence, the women should have been counselled, not punished, he said.
The Islamic police had arrested the two women, aged 22 and 32, in April from a car parked in a public square in Terengganu, one of the most conservative parts of the country.
In August, an Islamic court had ordered the women to be caned six times for violating the Sharia or Islamic law that forbids gay sex.
Human rights groups called the punishment cruel and unjust and described it as a setback to the rights of the LGBT community in Malaysia while warning about a rise in intolerance in the country.
Malaysia has a dual justice system, in which Islamic courts rules related to religion and family, including adultery, of the Muslim population.