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Monday, August 24, 2009

Malaysian woman to be caned for alcohol drinking

When people start getting out of control in terms of alcohol drinking, they head off to rehabitilation centers to break their habits. Others try to moderate their alcohol limits. However, in many Islamic countries, alcohol is firmly banned, and citizens are not allowed to consume alcohol. Even then, using corporal punishment to deter drinking is another very different step in prevention of alcohol drinking. However, consider the weird situation where a citizen of a country is not allowed to drink while another citizen of the country can drink (difference based on the religion of the person), a woman could be caned for drinking, and the punishment is imposed by a religious court that is parallel to the civil judicial system, and the civil judicial system cannot interfere in this judgment (link to article):

A Malaysian model, who was set to become the first woman to be caned in the southeast Asian country for drinking beer in public, had her sentence postponed Monday until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. An Islamic, or sharia, court in Pahang had fined Kartika -- a Muslim -- $1,400 (5,000 Malaysian ringgit) and sentenced her to six strokes with a rattan cane for drinking at a hotel bar two years ago.
The caning would have been carried out within seven days of that, making her the first woman to be caned in Malaysia under sharia law. The moderate Muslim country has a dual-track justice system, in which Islamic courts operate alongside civil courts. But the country's civil system also cannot overrule a sharia court sentence.

Such a punishment, caning, for drinking alcohol, seems very harsh. Further, the fact that a country's civil courts cannot over-rule a religious court seems even stranger.

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