“Caning in Malaysia has hit epidemic proportions,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. “In every case that we examined, the punishment amounted to torture, which is absolutely prohibited under any circumstances.” In recent years, Malaysia has increased the number of penal offenses subject to caning to more than 60. Since 2002, when Parliament made immigration violations such as illegal entry subject to caning, tens of thousands of refugees and migrant workers have been caned. In Malaysian prisons specially trained caning officers tear into victims’ bodies with a metre-long cane swung with both hands at high speed. The cane rips into the victim’s naked skin, pulps the fatty tissue below, and leaves scars that extend to muscle fibre. The pain is so severe that victims often lose consciousness. The Malaysian government does not punish officers for their actions. Instead, it trains officers how to conduct caning and pays them a bonus for each stroke. Many double their income through their caning work. Others take bribes to intentionally miss, sparing their victims. State-employed doctors also play an integral role in caning. They examine victims and certify their fitness to be caned. When victims lose consciousness during caning, they revive them so the punishment can continue. After caning, some victims suffer long-term physical disabilities. “The role that Malaysian doctors play in facilitating deliberate pain and injury through caning is absolutely contrary to international medical ethics,” said Sam Zarifi. “Instead of treating the victims, doctors are assisting in their torture and ill-treatment.” Malaysian officials and state employees who are complicit in torture are liable to prosecution worldwide under universal jurisdiction for grave human rights crimes such as these, Amnesty International said.