Thursday, August 20, 2009

Muslim Woman to be Publicly Beaten for Drinking Beer

A Malaysian model will receive six strokes from a rattan cane after admitting in an Islamic court to the crime of drinking beer in a bar.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno’s sentence was confirmed by her lawyer after she decided not to appeal, making her the first woman to face corporal punishment imposed by a Malaysian Sharia court, the London Times reports.

Alcohol is served to members of other religions at the country’s tourist bars and hotels but for Muslims — who make up two thirds of the population — its consumption is punishable by a fine, up to three years in prison or six strokes of the cane.

Kartika, 32, who lives with her husband and two children in Singapore and works as a part-time model, was caught in a police raid on a bar in Cherating in July 2008. She said that she accepted the court’s ruling, which included a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,413). “I am not afraid because I was ready to be punished from Day 1,” she said.

Malaysian courts also impose caning for crimes including rape and corruption, and the punishment, administered to the bare buttocks with a cane as thick as a thumb, often leaves permanent scars. Sharia caning, according to those who carry it out, is less violent, intended to embarrass rather than to hurt its victims.

The recipients of Sharia caning wear clothes and the blows are not supposed to break the skin. The cane of rattan, or jungle creepers, is as thick as a little finger, and according to Sharia rules the person administering the blows is not allowed to raise the hand so high that the upper arm moves away from the armpit.


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