A Malaysian religious court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur sentenced five men on Thursday to jail, caning and fines for attempting gay sex, media and a rights groups. have reported.
The Selangor Shariah High Court, on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, sentenced four men to six months’ jail, six strokes of the cane, and a 4,800 ringgit ($1,163) fine for “attempting intercourse against the order of nature.” A fifth man was sentenced to seven months’ jail, six strokes of the cane and a 4,900 ringgit fine for the same offence.
“The facts show that there was an attempt to carry out intercourse outside of the order of nature and that it was not in the early stages of preparation,” Selangor Shariah High Court judge Mohamad Asri was quoted as saying.
Malaysia has a dual-track legal system, with Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims running alongside civil laws. The country is home to 32 million people, where ethnic Malay Muslims make up more than 60 percent of the population.
The case comes amid concerns around growing intolerance toward the LGBT community in Malaysia in recent months.
Malaysia retains its colonial era criminal ban on sodomy (as well as oral sex), with possible punishment including fines, prison sentences of up to twenty years, and even corporal punishment. A subsection of the Criminal Code also provides additional punishment for men convicted of “gross indecency with another male person”. Vigilante executions are also tolerated and LGBT people also risk deportation.