Malaysia caned two women who were caught having sex in a parked car, giving them each six lashes on Monday morning amid a heightened crackdown on homosexuality, reports CNN. The women, ages 22 and 32, were also fined $800. The AP appears to make the punishment sound softer, noting that the cane was made of "light rattan," administered by female prison officials, and a Muslim Lawyers' Association rep says that unlike caning under the nation's civil laws, caning under sharia law isn't meant to be painful. The women didn't scream or cry, he said, but "showed remorse. Repentance is the ultimate aim for their sin." Amnesty International wasn't having it, calling Malaysian laws "repressive," and saying in a statement: "Caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and may amount to torture. People should not live in fear because they are attracted to people of the same sex."
The caning was public and watched by about 100 people, and comes after a raid on a gay club earlier this month saw some 20 men charged with illicit behavior, not to mention the brutal beating of a trans woman. Homosexuality is illegal in the country. "It's very uncomfortable, (people are) feeling very oppressed right now. People are afraid because this is the first time that two women are being caned for sexual acts," says an LGBT activist. (Read more caning stories.)