Saturday, January 23, 2010

Malaysia slips back into the Dark Ages as woman caught for drinking beer is to be caned

Ms Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, a former model set to be caned for drinking a beer has lost her job and her husband.

The Malaysian from Perak made international headlines when she was ordered to be caned six times and fined RM5,000 (S$2,060) in July last year for drinking alcohol in public.

She would be the first woman caned in Malaysia under Islamic law. The punishment is enforced only in Pahang, Kelantan and Perlis. Civil law does not allow caning for women. The Pahang Syariah High Court abruptly postponed her caning in August until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The religious authorities there upheld her caning sentence in September, but did not set a date for it to be carried out.

The court's caning order has caused serious damage to Malaysia's international image as a moderate Muslim country. But some Muslim groups have backed the sentence and asked critics not to interfere with laws meant for Muslims.

There have been other cases of Muslims, including women, who were caught drinking, but almost all of them pleaded not guilty and appealed against their sentences.

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