Transgender entrepreneur Nur Sajat Kamaruzzaman claimed that she was touched on her breasts and private parts while being arrested by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) officers back in January.
Sajat provided a detailed account of her experience in JAIS’s detention to The New York Times (NYT), in which she alleged at least three officers kicked, pinned her down and fondled her during the arrest.
The article which was published yesterday (20 Oct), claimed that Sajat’s mother witnessed the assault and confronted one officer asking how pious Muslims could do something like this. The officer purportedly responded that Sajat was a man so it was fine.
“They think it is justified to touch my private part and my breasts because they perceive me as a male person. They didn’t treat me with any compassion or humanity,” said Sajat.
Sajat was then arrested and charged in the Shariah Court on the same day before being placed in a detention facility for men.
On 13 Jan, JAIS said that it had summoned its enforcers to explain the incident after Sajat lodged a police report alleging the violent treatment. At the time, it was not publicly alleged by Sajat and the matter was also not mentioned by JAIS or the police.
She explained to NYT that no further action had been taken against the officers after their statement was recorded. NYT also reported that JAIS has refused to comment.
ICYMI, Sajat fled to Thailand last month after Malaysian authorities issued an arrest warrant over her failure to attend a Shariah Court hearing. She was detained by Thai immigration in Bangkok after the Malaysian government voided her passport.
Sajat fled to Australia recently while holding a United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Card and has been granted political asylum after arriving there on 18 Oct.
According to SCMP, the prominent entrepreneur said that she was “safe, happy and free” in Australia. Officials there also promised to help her settle in the country.
“Australia chose me… due to my case. So I did not apply [for asylum] to any other country. I was intimidated and abused [in Malaysia]. The Australian government realised this,” she said.
So far, Sajat’s case has only highlighted concerns about the worsening climate for LGBT people in Malaysia, where officials are increasingly cracking down against the community and seeking to toughen related laws.
While she is safe now in Australia, JUICE stands in solidarity with transgenders in the country. If you do too, please consider donating to SEED Foundation which provides shelter & support for transgender persons, the homeless & people living with HIV.