A religious court in a Malaysian state led by an Islamist party has ordered the imprisonment and caning of a woman who has pleaded guilty to offering sexual services, a prosecutor said Thursday.
The woman, sentenced under Islamic laws prohibiting prostitution, will be the third to be punished in the conservative state of Terengganu, in the east, led by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), at the following similar sanctions imposed last month.
“Even if the offense does not involve a victim, it has a negative impact by destroying societal institutions, introducing sexually transmitted diseases and has a bad influence on young people,” said prosecutor Muhammad Khasmizan Abdullah.
The 30-year-old single mother, who was arrested by Islamic force agents at a hotel on September 17, had asked for clemency, claiming that she turned to prostitution to raise her child and that she did not had received no financial support from her former husband.
The court, however, ordered a prison sentence of six months and six strokes of the cane, Muhammad Khasmizan said, however, adding that the caning would be administered in prison within 14 days.
The woman could not be reached for comment and she was not represented in court.
Muslim-majority Malaysia operates a two-track legal system, with Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims alongside civil laws.
Women cannot be beaten under civil laws, but punishment is permitted under Islamic laws in some states.
On September 3, two women were whipped six times each in front of dozens of people in a Sharia court in Terengganu for attempting to have lesbian sex, sparking an outcry from human rights groups, who said the punishment of torture.
A group of Muslim women, Sisters in Islam, said they were “disappointed” that the Terengganu court had again sentenced a woman to caning.
As a first offender, his personal difficulties should have been taken into account, said Rozana Isa, the group’s executive director.
“Today’s case clearly demonstrates that the humiliation suffered by women before, during and after flogging is not considered a relevant factor in their pain, when in fact humiliation is a key aspect. punishment, ”she said in a statement.
But the humiliation caused lasting psychological trauma, she added.
The state had contented itself with prosecuting crimes committed by women, Muhammad Khasmizan said.
“Men are punished if they also commit such crimes, so the question of gender does not arise. ”