News24

Malaysia gay activists challenge government

2012-01-10 14:37

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian gay rights activists have launched a legal challenge against a police ban on an arts festival aimed at curbing homophobia.

The case highlights complaints about discrimination against gays at a time when international rights groups are urging authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia to abolish laws criminalising same-sex relations.

The acquittal this week of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomising a male former aide prompted Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to criticise the Malaysian government for insisting on laws that make sodomy punishable by 20-year prison sentences.

Organisers of a "Sexual Independence" festival held annually in Malaysia since 2008 filed a petition in the High Court on Tuesday in hopes of overturning a ban imposed in 2010 on the event.