Malaysia beer-drinking model `escapes caning`

Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 18:32

Kuala Lumpur: A model who faced caning
under Malaysia`s strict Sharia law for drinking beer has had
her sentence reduced to community service, her lawyer said
on Thursday.

33-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced
last year to six lashes and a fine by a religious court in the
Muslim-majority country, sparking an outrage among human
rights groups.
Shukarnor’s caning sentence has been commuted by the
Sultan of Pahang, a day before she was due to surrender
herself to the state’s Islamic authorities.

Kartika’s lawyer, Adham Jamalullail, said she received
a letter yesterday informing her that the Sultan had decided
to spare her from the caning sentence. Instead, she has been
"ordered to perform community service for three weeks," he was
quoted as saying by Malaysian Insider, an online newspaper.

The part-time model and mother-of-two was supposed to
be caned six times last August for a 2008 offence of consuming
beer, but it was called off at the last minute.

She would have been the fourth woman to be caned under
Islamic law in Malaysia. The lashing in February of three
women, who received between four and six strokes of the cane
after being convicted of "khalwat" or illicit sex, also
caused uproar among rights groups.
She had been detained by the authorities after she was
found drinking beer at a resort in the popular Cherating beach
on July 11, 2008. She pleaded guilty at the Kuantan Sharia
High Court and was fined RM 5,000 and six strokes of the cane.

The caning was due last August but was called off
following an uproar over the punishment.

Kartika was granted an audience with the Pahang crown
prince, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, at the Pekan royal
town last month.

Kartika has repeatedly said she has no intention of
appealing the sentence or running away from the "worldly
punishment" for her offence.

She had asked that the caning be done in public and
has already paid the fine.

Malaysia, a multicultural nation which is also home to
large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, has a dual-track
legal system and Islamic courts can try Muslims for religious
and moral offences, including illicit sex.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 18:32

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