Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

29 September 2009

Malaysia upholds caning sentence for Muslim woman

Malaysia upholds caning sentence for Muslim woman

Amnesty International has urged the Malaysian government to place a moratorium on the punishment of caning after an appeal court upheld a six strokes caning sentence given to a Muslim woman for drinking alcohol in public.

Shariah Court of Appeal in the State of Pahang upheld the sentence imposed on on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno on Monday.

Last month, the Kartika's punishment was postponed indefinitely pending revision. The postponement had initially been until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. If the sentence is carried out, Kartika, 32, will become the first woman to be caned under Shariah law.

"The Malaysian government should do all it can to stop this inhumane punishment from being used and place a moratorium on caning as a sentence, with a view to repeal all laws providing for this and all other forms of corporal punishment", said Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Programme.
 
"Since 2002, more than 35,000 irregular migrants have been caned or flogged. Caning is a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and is prohibited under international human rights law,” he added.

"These rights may never be suspended under any circumstances. Malaysia should take a lead within the region in establishing these Human Rights standards, particularly as a country aiming to reach developed nation status by the end of the next decade."
 
On the 20 July, the Shariah High Court in Pahang sentenced Kartika to six strokes of the cane and fined her RM5, 000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol at a hotel there. The judge in the case had also threatened to jail her for three years if she did not pay the RM 5,000 fine, which she subsequently paid.   
 
In September, the Pahang Syariah court sentenced an Indonesian Muslim man to six strokes of the cane and a year in prison for drinking alcohol while later in the month, the Syariah Court in the State of Selangor sentenced a Muslim couple to six strokes of the cane each after they were caught trying to have pre-marital sex.
    
Caning is currently used as a supplementary punishment for at least 40 crimes in Malaysia , but  Kartika’s sentence is the fist time it has been used against anyone found guilty of violating the country’s religious laws.

The Shariah law applies only to Muslims, who make up 60 percent of the country’s 28 million. In June 2009, the Malaysian government announced that they had sentenced 47,914 migrants to be caned for immigration offences since amendments to its Immigration Act came into force in 2002.

Read More

Malaysia indefinitely postpones caning of woman (News, 28 August 2009)
Photographic evidence shows the cruelty of caning In Malaysia (News, 25 August 2009)
Malaysia postpones caning of woman for Ramadan (News, 24 August 2009)
Malaysian woman first to be caned under Shariah law (News, 21 August 2009)

Issue

Demand Dignity 
Torture And Ill-treatment 
Trials And Legal Systems 

Country

Malaysia 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

18 September 2014

Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape... Read more »

25 September 2014

El Salvador has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally banned in all circumstances and harsh prison sentences befall those accused of... Read more »

01 October 2014

The Chinese authorities must release all those detained for peacefully showing support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Read more »
30 September 2014

A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report highlights how the shameful inaction of EU countries has contributed to the deaths of... Read more »

29 September 2014

Iranian authorities have today confirmed that a woman convicted of killing a man whom she said tried to sexually abuse her will be hanged tomorrow morning at a prison... Read more »