Due to Ramadan, Malaysia delays caning of beer drinking woman. Religious officials in Malaysia will delay the caning until mid-September. Read more and see photos and video here.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno pleaded guilty to drinking alcohol at a hotel nightclub. She was sentenced to six strokes of the rattan cane for her offense, making her the first woman ever to be caned in the country. She is a part-time model, who is also a nurse and mother of two.
Malaysian Islamic law applies to the Malays majority, but not the Chinese and Indian minority groups. As a result, Mrs. Shukarno’s actions put her in violation of the country’s religious law against drinking.
As officials appeared at her home to take her into custody about 50 people stood nearby and shouted “God is Great,” and “There is no God except Allah.”
The transport van didn’t make it far, stopping after only a short distance. Is appears that an official in charge of religious affairs, Mohamad Sahfri Abdul Aziz, intervened at the last minute at the recommendation of the Attorney General. Then, after about an hour of waiting, the van did a u-turn and headed back to her house.
The delays seemed to bewilder Kartika, who said:
“I will not come out without a black and white document explaining the status of what has happened. I am surprised and speechless.”
The woman herself would prefer to get the caning over with now, rather than deal with the anticipation. Her father also expressed that any delay in the caning sentence would cause backlash in the international community, particularly the West. He said:
“My daughter wants the sentence to be done. I’m afraid that people will make fun of the religion. Don’t make my daughter a toy to play with.”
Kartika and her father have both said they want the caning to be done in public, reinforcing the notion that it is a “lesson,” not a punishment. She said she respects the law and feels “calm” about the sentence itself.
You may recall the case of American teenager Michael Fay, who received a caning sentence in Singapore stemming from a vandalism charge. President Bill Clinton was able to have the number of strokes reduced, but the sentence was still carried out.
Amnesty International condemns the practice of caning, and continues to classify it as torture. They urged authorities in Malaysia to overturn the sentence, and abolish the practice entirely.
What do you think, is the sentence too harsh for her crime? Let us hear your opinion in the comments section below.
Watch Kartika discuss the case in a video below.