A Malaysian man who forced his wife to have sex with him has been sentenced to the maximum five years in jail, in the country's first successful prosecution under a new law against marital rape.
Prosecutor Law Chin How said the man was sentenced in a sessions court in eastern Pahang state.
He said the case was the first in the country under a 2007 law that makes it illegal for a husband to cause "fear of death or hurt to his wife ... to have sexual intercourse."
"We asked for a heavy sentence. First of all to protect women ... and to give others encouragement to stand up," he said today.
The amendment to the penal code that made marital rape a crime was considered a small step toward women's rights in conservative Muslim-dominated Malaysia. But some activists say it doesn't go far enough because the law doesn't stipulate a minimum sentence, which means a man could go to jail for as little as a day even if convicted.
The 35-year-old man was, however, sentenced to the maximum five years allowed. The punishment for rape outside marriage is up to 30 years.
The man was also sentenced to 10 years in jail and three lashes of the whip for forcing his wife to have anal sex, Law said. Anal sex, even when consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment in Malaysia. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Law said the man changed his plea from innocent to guilty for both charges Tuesday, a day after the trial started.