UPDATE: Malaysia: Kartika to be caned after fasting month

The Star
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, who was scheduled to be caned this week for drinking beer, has been released temporarily as it is not advisable for the sentence to be meted out during the fasting month.
Pahang's Religious Affairs, Dakwah, Unity and NGOs Exco chairman Datuk Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz said the state Religious Department enforcement officers, had gone to Kartika’s house in Sungai Siput, Perak on Monday to issue a warrant of arrest for her to be sent to the Kajang Prison for the whipping sentence to be carried out. "At the same time, they received a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers advising them to release Kartika temporarily as it was not advisable for her to undergo the punishment during the fasting month. "The sentence remains. She will be caned after the fasting month. She has been released but only temporarily," he said.
Meanwhile in KUALA KANGSAR, Kartika said she wants the whipping to carried out as scheduled.

Describing herself as "a football being kicked around", she questioned her status because the religious department had not given her any definite answer for not carrying out the punishment on her.

She was speaking with reporters at the Kuala Kangsar police station where she lodged a report to declare that she had not run away from the law and that the religious authorities had not taken her to the Kajang Prison as scheduled

Earlier Monday, AP had reported that the model, who was scheduled to be caned this week for drinking beer, had been released.

It said that three religious department officers wemt to her house in Sg Siput on Monday and took her away in a van. But they returned after about 30 minutes and said they had received “instructions from the higher powers” to release her, AP quoted Kartika’s father, Shukarno Abdul Muttalib, as saying.

The officials said that “for now, the sentence cannot be carried out,” Shukarno said.

Officials had said earlier that Kartika, a 32-year-old mother of two, would be caned sometime during the week but no specific date was set.

Badaruddin Ahmad Bustami, an Islamic Department official, said prison representatives suddenly informed department authorities who took custody of Kartika that they “cannot accept her.” He said the prison did not give any reasons.

“We don’t know what to do. We will discuss this with the Shariah court” to determine whether the sentence should be waived, Badaruddin told The Associated Press.

Prison Department officials could not immediately be reached.

Shukarno said he and his daughter would head to a district police station to file statements about her abrupt release. He said they were confused about what had happened and were worried that officials might later accuse his daughter of running away from them.

Kartika was arrested in a raid for drinking beer at a hotel lounge last year for breaching the Muslim-majority country’s Shariah law, which forbids Muslims to consume alcohol.

She was sentenced by a Syariah court in July in what was considered a warning to other Muslims to abide by religious laws. Kartika did not appeal and said she was willing to be caned.

Dressed in a full-length cream-and-red satin gown and a head scarf, Kartika emerged from her house and walked past a group of about 50 local Muslims who said prayers for her.

After a last kiss with her 5-year-old daughter, she got into the silver van along with her sister and the Islamic officials.

She did not speak to the horde of media assembled outside the house in Sg Siput.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Kartika had said she wants to be caned because “I want to respect the law.”

24 August 2009


Source: The Star