Wednesday, August 26, 2009


21 August 2009

On the 20 July 2009, the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang sentenced Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, to six strokes of the cane and fined her RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang. On 18 August 2009 the same 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 2009 and caned within seven days of this date..

To our knowledge, no person in Malaysia, male or female, has thus far been caned under the country’s Shariah laws, making her the first to be punished in this way. Furthermore Kartika will be the first woman to be caned in Malaysia as under the existing Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code, only males are subjected to caning for a range of crimes. Women’s Groups urges the government of Malaysia to review caning as a form of judicial punishment under the Common and Syariah legal systems. In the case of Kartika, it constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia and violates Constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination as whipping of women under Shariah Criminal Offences legislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable by caning under Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

There is no consensus among Muslim scholars on the range of crimes for which whipping is prescribed, nor on whether women should be whipped. Nor is whipping for consuming alcohol considered proportionate to the gravity of the offence. Sisters In Islam, a member of JAG in their press statement on 23 July 2009 have said:

“SIS believes that Islam as a religion of compassion calls people to the way of God with wisdom, as expressed in Surah An-Nahl,16:125 , “Invite all to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason with them in the ways that are best and most gracious.”

“The goal of Islamic authorities is to prevent crime in the first place, not to inflict severe punishment as a first resort. Promoting and protecting the human rights of the ummah, ensuring socio-economic justice, educating the ummah about God’s teachings and laws in order that they become responsible for abiding by them out of faith are prerequisites before any punishment can be implemented. That Kartika has expressed remorse should move the Malauysian authorities to emulate God’s attributes of compassion (rahmah) and mercy (rahim), especially within the holy month of Ramadhan”.

In conclusion, the women’s groups below reiterate that corporal punishment whether for men or women violates human rights principles, in particular the right to be free from cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment or punishment.

The Malaysian government should immediately revoke the sentence to cane Kartika and abolish the practice of corporal punishment.

Signed by:

1. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO). P.O. Box 493 Jalan Sultan, 46760
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 7957 5636 / 0636 Fax:
+60 3 7956 3237 Email: wao@po.jaring. my

2. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (PKKS), 13 Lorong 4/48E, 46050
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 778449777 Fax: + 60 3
77844978 Email: empower05@gmail. com

3. Sisters in Islam (SIS), 7 Jalan 6/10, Petaling Jaya, 46000 Selangor,
Malaysia. Tel: + 60 3 77856121 Fax: +60 3 77858737 Email:

4. All Women's Action Society, 85 Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling
Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 78774221 Email : my


Urgent Action needed:

Please send your letters of protest, appeals and interventions to the
government of Malaysia to revoke the sentence on Kartika Sari Dewi
Shukarno and abolish corporal punishment to:

1. Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister's Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building, Fax: 03-88883444
Federal Government Administrative Centre, E-Mail: my
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia

2. Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
Attorney-General of Malaysia Fax : 03-8890 5670
Attorney General's Chambers of Malaysia E-Mail:
No. 45, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 4,
62100 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel : 603 - 8872 2000,

3. Y.B. Senator Dato' Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil
Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Fax: 03-2693 8564
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development E-Mail: shahrizat@kpwkm.
Aras 1-6, Blok E, Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan Bukit Perdana,
Jalan Dato' Onn,
50515 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2693 0095

4. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Musa Bin Dato' Hj. Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia, Fax: 03 - 2070 7500
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03 - 2262 6222

Sample letter

Dear Madam/Sir,

We are writing to you to express our concern that a Malaysian citizen Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has been sentenced by the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang to receive six (6) strokes of caning for consuming alcohol.

We urge the Malaysian government to revoke this sentence. Executing this sentence will amount to the torture of an individual by the state and contradicts Malaysia’s international commitments to uphold human rights principles.

We further urge the Malaysian government to review existing provisions in the State and Federal laws so as to abolish corporal punishment.

We urge the Government of Malaysia to continue to uphold human rights as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.



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