PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu Syariah High Court, that carried out the public caning on two women for same-sex relations on Monday, should have exercised discretion and refrained from executing the punishment, according to Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail.
He said that while the law provides for punishment by caning, the choice of punishment was unacceptable.
In addition, the commission viewed that the caning, which was executed in public in the presence of the media, was intended to humiliate as much as to injure the reputation of the women and their families.
"The Court ought to have exercised judicial discretion, in accordance with principles of compassion, mercy and human dignity in Islam.
"Suhakam does not accept that the choice and mode of punishment were intended to educate because a cultured, civilised, moderate and progressive society would not resort to fear and humiliation as a tool for education," today's statement said.
The two women, aged 32 and 22, were caned on Monday in front of 100 witnesses for attempting to have lesbian sex.