Kuala Lumpur, 06 September 2018 – The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy denounces the public caning of two women in the Terengganu Syariah High Court and expresses concerns over its impact on their health and wellbeing.
Commenting on this development, Chief Executive Azrul Mohd Khalib said, “Public judicial caning is classified as a form of torture under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The nature of public judicial caning is to shame and humiliate as a form of deterrence. Regardless of whatever form of caning that was allegedly implemented in this recent case, it is a traumatic experience for the victims.”
The detrimental effects of public caning goes beyond physical health, Azrul emphasised. “Public caning has long-term, devastating consequences to a person’s mental health and self-esteem. Victims of public caning are at higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety and depression. Due to the high profile and stigmatised nature of their sentencing, these women are at risk of facing isolation, stigma and violence from family, friends and community members.”
“Collectively, this could lead to a worsening of their mental health, and puts them at greater risk of social isolation, self-harm and suicidal tendencies, among other conditions.”
“The Galen Centre urges the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and the Ministry of Health to reach out to the women, to assess their physical, mental and emotional state, and to provide adequate support and interventions as necessary.”
On September 3 (Monday), two women were caned six times each at the Terengganu Syariah High Court for attempting to commit musahaqah (sexual relations between women) under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu). The caning was witnessed by more than 100 spectators.
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