A trans woman is facing deportation from Thailand to her native Malaysia to face charges under Islamic Sharia Law for “crossdressing”. Nur Sajat, a 38 year old businesswoman, was charged in January with bringing contempt to Islam by dressing in feminine clothing.
The charges against Sajat relate to a video posted on her social media channels where she considers renouncing Islam. After posting the video, which has now been removed, Sujat received a number of death threats before being charged by Malaysian police with insulting Islam. Sajat failed to keep a February court date and subsequently travelled to Thailand.
In a statement yesterday (Monday), Malaysian police have confirmed that Sajat has been arrested and bailed by Thai police on immigration offences – specifically travelling on an invalid passport – and have confirmed that they are now seeking extradition to Malaysia from their Thai counterparts so that Sajat can face further civil charges of obstructing the authorities in carrying out their duties in addition to the original charges under Sharia Law.
Phil Robertson, the Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, said that the UN Refugee Agency has granted Sajat refugee status and it is thought that she plans to seek asylum in Australia. Tweeting on Monday, Mr Robertson said, “She needs to be sent to a country that will offer rights protections, not persecuted for being #LGBT which is what will happen if she is sent to Malaysia.”
Malaysia operates a dual legal system. The country’s 32 million Muslims, who account for around two-thirds of the population, are governed by Sharia Law in respect of marriage, family matters and other personal issues, while the remainder of the population, chiefly ethnic Chinese and Indian, are subject to civil laws.
According to human rights activists, the rise of conservative Islam has seen an increase in attacks on LGBT people in Malaysia.
US Church appoints first trans bishop.
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