27.8 C
Saturday, September 23, 2023

Malaysian transgender entrepreneur arrested in Thailand


Must read

A prominent Malaysian transgender entrepreneur wanted in her home country for insulting Islam through cross-dressing has been arrested in Thailand, Thai police said today, as Malaysian authorities sought her extradition.

The case of Nur Sajat, who runs a cosmetics company, has heightened concerns about the deteriorating climate for the Muslim-majority LGBT community in Malaysia.

Officials are increasingly speaking out against homosexuality and have recently announced that they want to tighten laws against gays.

Sajat, 36, was charged in January this year by an Islamic court outside Kuala Lumpur for dressing up as a woman during a 2018 religious event that violates Sharia law.

The court issued a warrant for her arrest in February after she failed to show up for a hearing, and she has been on the run ever since. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Malaysian transgender entrepreneur arrested Thailand

Multi-ethnic Malaysia has a two-track justice system, with Sharia courts handling some cases for Muslim citizens.

Malaysian police said Sajat was arrested in Thailand on September 8 by the Thai Immigration Service for holding an invalid passport and charged with immigration violations.

Sajat is wanted in Malaysia for offenses including obstructing an official, Malaysian police said.

“Several attempts are being made to return the suspect to Kuala Lumpur,” added police officer Abdul Jalil Hassan, giving Sajat’s full name as Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman.

Police gave no further details. But The Star newspaper reported that Thai authorities had arrested her in a luxury condominium in Bangkok and that she had been released on bail.

Thilaga Sulathireh, co-founder of Malaysian transgender activist group Justice for Sisters, said the “ongoing persecution of Nur Sajat represents Malaysia’s climate of repression against LGBT persons”.

“The police must immediately stop all investigations and harassment against Sajat,” she told AFP.

A growing number of cases brought under strict Islamic laws against Malaysia’s LGBT community have sparked alarm, including the beating of two women in 2018 after they were convicted of sex.

About 60% of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, and the country is also home to sizable ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -spot_img
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article