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Malaysian Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Two Malaysian Muslim women convicted under Islamic laws for attempting to have sexual intercourse have been caned in a rare public whipping that was slammed by rights activists as a “grave miscarriage of justice.”

Lawyers and activists say more than 100 people witnessed the caning Monday in a Sharia court in northeast Terengganu state.

Muslim Lawyers’ Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Sinwan said the women, aged 22 and 32, were given six strokes from a light rattan cane on their backs by female prison officers. He said the caning wasn’t harsh and was meant to educate the women so they will repent.

But women’s groups called the caning “a form of torture” and warned it could worsen discrimination against people in Malaysia’s lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered community.