Prisons Department cleared to cane Kartika

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CANING OF M’SIAN WOMAN
Prisons Department cleared to cane Kartika
September 08, 2009 Print Ready Email Article

MALAYSIA’S Prisons Department has been given the green light to carry out the caning sentence on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said department director-general Zulkifli Omar and a woman officer came to his office last week to conduct a caning demonstration for him.

In an exclusive interview, he told The Star: ‘She tapped the back of a chair with the cane.

‘There was little force involved and it was not going to inflict pain, not even like the caning carried out in schools in those days.

‘I am now satisfied that the caning can be carried out by the department if the court decides to proceed and enforce the sentence.’

Two weeks ago, Mr Hishammuddin had said the Prison Department could not cane her as it did not have ‘the capability or experience’.

The minister felt a study of proper procedures is needed before caning the woman according to Syariah law.

Kartika, 32, was arrested by Islamic morality police for drinking beer at a beach resort in Pahang in December 2007.

In end July, the Pahang Syariah court sentenced her to six strokes of the cane and fined her RM5,000 ($2,050), which she has already paid.

Later, they deferred her sentence until after Ramadan.

No experience

Several organisations such as the Bar Council have since called for the sentence to be annulled.

While Mr Hishammuddin was satisfied that the department was able to conduct the caning, he still felt it had no experience to do so.

He told The Star: ‘This is because the woman (Kartika) will be the first to be caned (under Syariah laws applicable to Muslims). Four men who have received caning sentences by the Syariah Court are appealing their sentence.’

Mr Hishammuddin told the Prisons Department not to get ’embroiled’ in the legality of the caning sentence.

He said: ‘That is not (under) their purview. It is the judicial process which decides that.

‘If the caning sentence is to be imposed, it is their duty to carry it out fairly.’

Meantime, Kartika’s father, Mr Shukarno Mutalib, said the family was happy to hear that the department was able to handle the caning.

When contacted, he said: ‘Alhamdullillah (praise be upon Allah). Kartika wants it over and done with.’

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