Human Rights Watch has slammed a Malaysian Islamic court for fining nine transgender women for cross-dressing and jailing two of them for a month.

It says religious authorities in northeastern Kelantan state arrested the group in a raid on June 16 and they pleaded guilty the next day. The New York-based group says their lawyer has filed an appeal and the two sentenced to jail were released on bail pending the outcome.

Human Rights Watch, which calls Muslim-majority Malaysia one of the world's worst countries for transgender people, said Monday that the raid was the latest in a series of arbitrary arrests and harassment of transgender women in Malaysia.

It urged the government to abolish a law prohibiting cross-dressing.