A religious court in Malaysia has postponed the caning of two lesbians following outrage from human rights activists.
The women, who pleaded guilty to outlawed lesbian sex, were sentenced to a fine and six strokes of a cane, which was scheduled to take place Tuesday. However, a religious court postponed the punishment to September 3 due to "technical reasons" reports The Independent.
"A few agencies will be involved in the punishment, and there are some technical issues that have yet to be resolved," court registrar Nurul Huda Abdul Rahman said, according to The Star.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) was among the activist groups that called on Malaysian authorities to cancel the caning altogether.
“The scheduled caning of two women is the latest blow to Malaysia’s LGBT community, which had hoped for better protection under the country’s new government,” Director of HRW's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender rights program, Graeme Reid said in a press release. “This prosecution and punishment will only fuel the recent wave of homophobia and transphobia in Malaysia.”
The sentencing came after police raided Blue Boy, a nightclub popular with LGBTQ patrons, located in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.
“Malaysia’s new government should stand against discrimination and brutality and foster a culture of tolerance and equality,” Reid concluded. “As part of that effort, it should seek to abolish all laws against same-sex conduct and end the cruel practice of caning once and for all.”