Malaysia canes women for having sex out of wedlock

KUALA LUMPUR Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:08pm IST

Related Topics

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian authorities have caned three women under Islamic laws for the first time in the Southeast Asian country, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the sentences were carried out on February 9 after a religious court found them guilty of having sex out of wedlock. Two of the women were whipped six times.

"It was carried out perfectly."" Hishammuddin said in a statement. "Even though the caning did not injure them (the women), they said it caused pain within them."

Hishammuddin's comments signal that the mostly Muslim country is now prepared to flog Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a mother of two, for drinking beer, despite the international criticism that the case has garnered.

That case has put the multi-racial but mostly Muslim country's moderate image under scrutiny at a time when it is trying to draw in investors. Investors in New York last year asked Prime Minister Najib Razak about the Kartika case.

Malaysia has a dual-track legal system with Islamic criminal and family laws, which are applicable to Muslims, running alongside civil laws.

Hishammuddin said Kartika's case had flagged concerns about how women should be flogged and that the recent canings demonstrated that the prisons department can carry out punishments in accordance with Shariah (Islamic) law.

Under these laws, the women have to be whipped in a seated position by a female prison guard and be fully clothed.

Sex out of marriage is considered illegal under Islamic law and punishments can range from a fine to six strokes of the cane or both.

The canings come at a time when the National Front Coalition is trying to win over Malay Muslims who make up 55 percent of the 28 million population to stay in power after Chinese and Indian minorities deserted the coalition in 2008 elections.

That means that the linchpin of the governing coalition, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), cannot afford to offend conservative voters who are mostly Malay and live in rural areas.

But this could further alienate the sizeable ethnic minorities who are concerned about the rise of Shariah laws and increasing Islamisation in Malaysia, analysts have previously said.

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

ENTERTAINMENT

Reuters Showcase

Photo

Vodafone Tax Case

India's Vodafone decision eases tax worries for Shell, others  Full Article 

Facebook Earnings

Facebook Earnings

Facebook tops Wall Street revenue target in 4th quarter.  Full Article 

Japanese Hostage

Japanese Hostage

Islamic State said to set new deadline for hostage swap  Full Article 

Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup

Batting holds key for team India in World Cup  Full Article 

Photo

Australian Open

Serena fends off Keys to book blockbuster Sharapova final   Full Article | Related Story 

Road To Development

Road To Development

Build better roads in developing world to bolster food supplies - study  Full Article 

Photo

Laser Pioneer Dies

Laser's co-inventor, Nobel laureate Charles Townes, dead at 99  Full Article 

New ODI Record

New ODI Record

Sri Lanka's Sangakkara breaks ODI record for dismissals  Full Article 

Rohingya Muslims

Rohingya Muslims

Rohingya refugees say traffickers in Malaysia abuse and kill.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage