Kuala Lumpur, 8 November 2019 — The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy continues to deplore the use of caning as a form of punishment in the Malaysian criminal justice system. Five men were charged on November 7, 2019 with the attempt of sexual intercourse against the order of nature by the Selangor Syariah High Court. All five men were sentenced to six strokes of the cane on top of various fines and imprisonment.
Commenting on this sentencing, Programme Officer Dorian Wilde reminded that caning is a form of torture as classified by the United Nations Convention Against Torture. “Besides the physical pain inflicted, the long-term consequences of judicial caning must also be considered.”
“Studies have shown that victims of caning are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. The five men who have been charged are already facing intense public shaming due to the nature of the charges. Caning presents an additional traumatic experience that is meant to invoke further shame and humiliation. It is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment,” he added.
“The Galen Centre urges the Selangor Syariah High Court to stay the implementation of the sentence to review the suitability of judicial caning as a form of punishment. We also call for a moratorium of judicial caning as a form of punishment in both the civil and syariah justice system.”
“The Galen Centre also echoes the view that medical practitioners should not be sanctioning or facilitating the practice of judicial caning and must instead come out strongly against such an unethical practice. The main duty of a doctor is to first do no harm. Caning goes directly against this humanitarian principle,” he stressed.
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