On 23 September 2009 the charges against Winston Blackmore and James Oler were dropped and the British Columbia (B.C.) Supreme Court ruled that the second appointed prosecutor's decision not to proceed with a prosecution was final and binding. Therefore, for the past 17 years, polygamy has effectively been legal in British Columbia because the B.C. government has consistently refused to prosecute polygamists fearing that the law (Sec. 293 of the Criminal Code) may be unconstitutional.
The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW) are greatly concerned that the caning of Madam Kartika will shortly take place, possibly in secret.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) of Malaysia has submitted an application for revision and stay of execution of the caning sentence passed on Madam Kartika. SIS is asking the court to revise the sentence on several grounds, reminding the Malaysian government of its obligations under international law, constitutional and legal issues, and sentencing guidelines. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced by the Pahang Syariah Court to be lashed six times and fined RM 5000 as punishment for drinking beer with her husband in a hotel nightclub in Cherating (Pahang state) on 12 July 2007. The mother of two was charged under Section 136 of the Pahang Islamic and Malay Traditional Practices Enactment (Amendment) 1987. We have recently learned that the same judge has passed five other sentences on Muslim men and women for alcohol consumption.
The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW Campaign) are gravely concerned to learn of a set of regressive new laws introduced in Aceh, Indonesia on 14 September 2009. Indonesia's province of Aceh has passed a new law that imposes severe sentences for consensual extra-marital sexual relations, rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and gambling. Previously, Aceh's partially-adopted Sharia law enforced dress codes and mandatory prayers. "This law is a preventive measure for Acehnese people so that they will avoid moral degradation," said Moharriyadia, a spokesman for the Prosperous Justice Party.
For the first time the Pakistani assembly has discussed the need to amend the Blasphemy Laws, and there's a constitutional review committee in the parliament. Many civil society groups are pushing for a secular basis to the constitution. On August 28, 2009, the investigation report of 48 detained accused were submitted before the Anti-Terrorism Court. All the detained accused in Korian case will be produced before court again on Sep 11, 2009.
Lubna Hussein had been released after a day in prison after the government backed Journalists Union paid her fine. They did so without her consent. It is believed the government hopes that by closing this case, the pressure to repeal the discriminatory laws with die down. The sentence of flogging was dropped in the case of Lubna Hussein who was charged under article 152 (Indecent and Immoral Acts) of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code for wearing trousers in a public place. However, the guilty verdict has not been overturned and she had to choose between paying a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds or facing one month in jail. On Monday evening, Lubna Hussein was taken to jail to begin her sentence. Ms. Hussein did not want to lend any legitimacy to the verdict by paying the fine, and had intended to appeal the guilty verdict in both the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Lubna Hussein had previously pointed out that this charge falls under ‘immoral’ or ‘indecent behaviour’, a charge which will remain on her record and that of the other women arrested. Although she she will not be flogged, this offence on her record is associated with prostitution and other 'immoral' behaviour.
On 25 August the court of Al-Shamli, north of Hail, found Mrs Khamisa Sawadi guilty of the charge of "khilwa" (mingling with two young men to whom she was not immediately related), and the higher court in Riyadh ratified their verdict. One of the two young men who was tried alongside Sawadi may face additional charges for filing a law suit against the religious police. This is in spite of the fact that in May the Court of Cassation refused to ratify the verdict and returned the case to Al-Shamli court with several observations on the previous verdict, including the rejection of her breastfeeding claim and the fact that she is old.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network calls for the government of Pakistan to repeal its laws on blasphemy. The urgent need for law reform has been highlighted by the recent deadly attacks on a Christian community in Punjab, Pakistan, whose members were accused of desecrating the Qur'an. Members of a banned Islamist group, Sipah-i-Sahaba, took the law into their own hands and it is reported that policemen present did not try to control the mob and protect the citizens.
On 20 August, the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang Shariah Court ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno be remanded at the Kajang women’s prison in the state of Selangor from Monday, 24 August. Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, had been sentenced to six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang. Madam Kartika has since been released, but the sentence of caning is reportedly still due to be carried out and has only been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.