Model to be caned for drinking beer

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The Independent Online

A model sentenced to six lashes of the cane for drinking beer will become the first Malaysian woman to suffer the punishment under Islamic law.

An Islamic court ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, be beaten with a rattan cane after she was caught in a raid on a hotel night club in eastern Pahang state last year.

Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said Kartika will be the first woman to be caned under Islamic law after she chose not to appeal the sentence.

"This is the first case in Malaysia. ... It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offence," he said.

The court said the sentence must be carried out in a woman's prison sometime next week.

Saiful said Kartika will remain in prison during that time and will be released "as soon as possible" after the caning is carried out.

The cane will be lighter than the one used on men, and its purpose was to "educate" rather than punish he said.

Muslims, who make up about two-thirds of Malaysia's 28 million people, are governed by Islamic courts in all civilian and Islamic matters. Most alcohol offenders are fined, but the law also provides for a three-year prison term and caning.

Non-Muslims are governed by civil courts, which also impose caning for offences such as rape and corruption. Women, children and men above 50 are exempt under civil law. Caning, administered on the buttocks, breaks the skin and leaves permanent scars.

Kartika said earlier that she wanted authorities to cane her soon so that she can resume her life with her husband and children. Some politicians and women's rights activists have criticised the penalty as too harsh.

Malaysian clubs are not legally required to check if customers are Muslims before serving them alcohol.