Five men were charged in court today over the brutal assault on transgender woman Shukur Jani last week in Seremban, an hour outside of Kuala Lumpur. Only two of the suspects were present, with the three others, all under 18, are still at large.
As a result, Ms Jani was hospitalized for five days, suffering from several broken ribs, cuts, bruising, and a ruptured spleen, after the group used a piece of wood and plastic pipe to beat her.
Syaari Aziz, 37, and Muhammad Haiqal Mohammad Aris, 18, have been charged with grievous bodily harm, and face up to 20 years in prison, and being caned, over the hate crime.
Prosecutors had asked for the bail to be set at RM20,000 (US$5,000); however, The Star reports that the judge agreed to lower it to RM10,000 (US$2,500) has the men came from “average-income families.”
Ms. Jani has been active in seeking transgender rights in her home state of Negri Sembilan, and three years ago gained international notoriety after she and two other transgender women took their case to the Negri Sembilan Islamic Courts, declaring that their fundamental human rights were being infringed upon after changes were made to state laws banning “cross-dressing.”
At the time, a lawyer speaking on their behalf mused that the trio were becoming increasingly worried over their safety, after authorities began cracking down on members of the transgender community after the provision was passed.
Ms. Jani’s efforts in seeking basic human rights for her community were reported on in the international press, including The New York Times.
In recent months, LGBTQ+ issues have been widely discussed across various sectors of Malaysian society, from millions of two-cents-worth of opinions on Twitter-jaya (essentially, “Twitterville”), to religious authorities weighing in on which loos to use, to portraits of two activists being removed from a non-political photo exhibit at the behest of an Islamic Affairs officer.
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