August 26, 2009

Malaysia delays caning beer drinker

by Benjamin Graham

The caning of a Malaysian women who was caught drinking beer has been delayed until after Ramadan.

Kartika Sari Dewa Shukarno, 32, was sentenced to six strokes with a rattan cane after pleading guilty to the offence in an Islamic court.

Officials said the caning has been delayed on compassionate grounds on the advice of the attorney general.

The caning will now be carried out in mid-September, when the Islamic holy month of prayer and fasting is finished.

Kartika will be the first woman in Malaysia to be punished with the cane, but has chosen not to appeal against the sentence.

The mother of two had asked that the caning be carried out in public, but her request was denied.

She told reporters she felt calm about the punishment and was choosing not to appeal because she respects Islamic law.

Islamic authorities say the purpose of caning is to education rather than punish.

Human rights group Amnesty International is urging Malaysian authorities to abolish caning as a punishment.

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