Transgender cosmetics entrepreneur Nur Sajat Kamaruzzaman has been arrested after an eight-month search, Malaysian authorities confirmed on Monday.
The arrest: Nur Sajat, 36, was detained by Thai immigration authorities at a luxury condominium in Bangkok along with a man and a Thai woman, Malay Mail reported.
- She was charged in an Islamic court near Kuala Lumpur for dressing up in feminine clothing, a baju kurung, while attending a religious event in 2018.
- The baju kurung, which originated from the Malay peninsula, is traditionally worn by women in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand.
- An arrest warrant was issued in February after Nur Sajat failed to show up to a hearing.
- She faces up to three years in prison or 5,000 Malaysian Ringgit (about $1,200) in fines, or both, if convicted.
- Under Section 10(a) of the Shariah Crimes (State of Selangor) Enactment 1995, insulting Islam and related practices either by mocking or blaspheming through writing, drawings or photos is subject to punishment.
Other offenses: Authorities said in a statement that Nur Sajat was arrested and charged with immigration offenses on Sept. 8 for carrying an invalid passport. She was released on bail for that case.
- She is also wanted for criminal intimidation and “obstructing a public servant from carrying out his duties.”
- Nur Sajat is seeking refuge with the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR), according to Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Roberston.
- “As a @UNHCRAsia recognized refugee, under no circumstances should Nur Sajat be sent back to #Malaysia,” he tweeted. “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.”