Human rights apply to all, EU tells Malaysia over Selangor Shariah ‘unnatural sex’ conviction

Zurairi Ar
Mogherini called for the men to be released immediately, and for the human rights of LGBT persons to be guaranteed and protected according to Malaysia's international obligations. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — The European Union (EU) chided the Selangor Shariah High Court for sentencing five men for “attempting sex against the order of nature” last week, saying the punishments are a breach of their human rights.

In a brief statement, its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to everyone, even the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

“Caning — a form of corporal punishment — constitutes a breach of their human rights, and is a cruel, inhumane and degrading practice, and a form of torture,” Mogherini said through her spokesman.

“The human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons are protected under existing international human rights law and relevant international conventions.

“The principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights apply to all human beings without distinction of any kind,” the statement added.

The EU also called for the men to be released immediately, and for the human rights of LGBT persons to be guaranteed and protected according to Malaysia's international obligations.

The five were convicted under Sections 52 and 28 of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 after charged with attempting to conduct sexual relations with one or more men in an apartment at Bandar Baru Bangi, around 9.30pm on November 9 last year.

Four of the men aged 27 to 37 were fined RM4,800, six months imprisonment and six strokes of the cane. Another 42-year old man was sentenced to a jail term of seven months, fined RM4,900, and six strokes of the cane.

A group of 28 progressive civil rights organisations and political parties including Tenaganita, All Women’s Action Society, and Parti Sosialis Malaysia has since noted that the case's presiding Shariah judge Mohamad Asri Mohamad Tahir made numerous prejudiced remarks unrelated to the facts in issue.

The remarks made by Mohamad Asri included stating that people “like them” are difficult to control and must be segregated led the group to conclude that such extremely prejudicial sentiments resulted in unjust sentencing for the five.

Related Articles Merkel expects British parliament to approve Brexit deal Erdogan defies EU sanctions threat over Cyprus drilling On Wall anniversary, Merkel urges Europe to defend freedom