KUALA LUMPUR: Amnesty International has called on the Malaysian government to end judicial caning, saying it was a form of torture and left thousands permanently scarred every year. The London-based group’s report was based on interviews with 57 caning victims and released in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
“Amnesty International estimates that as many as 10,000 people each year are subjected to caning in Malaysia, and many of them are foreign nationals,”the report said. In Malaysia, caning is a frequent sentence for robbery, murder and rape and since 2002, for immigration offences. The group said caning left victims not only with permanent physical scars but also with irreversible emotional trauma.
The report said that because there is no detailed written procedure for carrying out caning sentences, the process was open to abuse. It also claimed that prison officers, who were paid a bonus for each stroke given, were known to take bribes from the families of the convicted in exchange for a lighter caning.
The Amnesty report recommended that the government “immediately enact a moratorium on caning as a punishment in all cases with a view to its abolition”.
It also urged other South-East Asian nations to put pressure on the Malaysian government to abolish caning.