Muslim woman to be flogged over beer

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An Islamic court in Malaysia has sentenced a Muslim woman to be flogged with a rattan cane for having a beer in a nightclub, a court official said today.

It is rare for a woman in Malaysia to be sentenced to caning - a punishment usually reserved for men in various crimes ranging from rape to bribery.

It is generally done by specially trained officials at prisons.

Part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced on Monday to six lashes and a fine of 5,000 ringgit (£850) for consuming alcohol, said a Shariah High Court official.

Shukarno, 32, pleaded guilty in the court in eastern Pahang state to a charge of drinking beer when Islamic authorities raided a hotel nightclub in August 2008.

Consuming alcohol is a religious offence in Malaysia only for Muslims, who make up nearly two-thirds of the population.

Offenders are prosecuted in Shariah courts, which handle cases mainly related to family and moral issues for Muslims.

Shukarno plans to appeal the sentence, the New Straits Times reported.

The punishment "is aimed at making the accused repent and serves as a lesson to Muslims," the newspaper quoted Judge Abdul Rahman Yunus as saying.