Saturday, August 22, 2009

Urgent Action Needed : Malaysia stop whipping, end corporal punishment for all affences



21 August 2009

On the 20 July 2009, the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state ofPahang sentenced Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, to six strokes of thecane and fined her RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleadedguilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang. On 18August 2009 the same Shariah Court ordered that Kartika Sari DewiShukarno be remanded at the Kajang women’s prison in the state ofSelangor 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 beencaned under the country’s Shariah laws, making her the first to bepunished in this way. Furthermore Kartika will be the first woman to becaned in Malaysia as under the existing Malaysian Criminal ProcedureCode, only males are subjected to caning for a range of crimes.

Women’s Groups urges the government of Malaysia to review caning as a formof judicial punishment under the Common and Syariah legal systems. In thecase of Kartika, it constitutes further discrimination against Muslimwomen in Malaysia and violates Constitutional guarantees of equality andnon-discrimination as whipping of women under Shariah Criminal Offenceslegislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable bycaning under Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

There is no consensus among Muslim scholars on the range of crimes forwhich whipping is prescribed, nor on whether women should be whipped. Noris whipping for consuming alcohol considered proportionate to the gravityof the offence.

Sisters In Islam (SIS) in their press statement on 23July 2009 have said:

“SIS believes that Islam as a religion of compassion calls people to theway of God with wisdom, as expressed in Surah An-Nahl,16:125 , “Inviteall to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, andreason 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 andprotecting the human rights of the ummah, ensuring socio-economicjustice, educating the ummah about God’s teachings and laws in order thatthey become responsible for abiding by them out of faith are prerequisitesbefore any punishment can be implemented. SIS further added today “ThatKartika has expressed remorse should move the Malauysian authorities toemulate 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 punishmentwhether for men or women violates human rights principles, in particularthe right to be free from cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment orpunishment.

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

Signed by:
1. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO). P.O. Box 493 Jalan Sultan, 46760Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 7957 5636 / 0636 Fax:+60 3 7956 3237 Email:
2. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (PKKS), 13 Lorong 4/48E, 46050Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 778449777 Fax: + 60 377844978 Email:
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 PetalingJaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 78774221 Email :

Urgent Action needed:

Please send your letters of protest, appeals and interventions to thegovernment of Malaysia to revoke the sentence on Kartika Sari DewiShukarno 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,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502, Putrajaya, Malaysia
Fax: 03-88883444

2. Tan Sri Abdul Gani PatailAttorney-General of Malaysia
Attorney General's Chambers of Malaysia
No. 45, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 4,
62100 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel : 603 - 8872 2000
Fax: 603-88905670

3. Y.B. Senator Dato' Sri Shahrizat Abdul JalilMinister of Women, Family and Community Development
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development
Aras 1-6, Blok E, Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan Bukit Perdana,
Jalan Dato' Onn,50515 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2693 0095
Fax: 03-26938564

4. Inspector-General of PoliceTan Sri Dato' Seri Musa Bin Dato' Hj. Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03 - 2262 6222
Fax: 03-20707500

5. The Malaysian Embassies in your respective countries


Sample letter

Dear Madam/Sir,

Revoke the sentence on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno and abolish corporalpunishment

We are writing to you to express our concern that a Malaysian citizenKartika Sari Dewi Shukarno has been sentenced by the Syariah High Courtin the Malaysian state of Pahang to receive six (6) strokes of caning forconsuming alcohol.

We urge the Malaysian government to revoke this sentence. Executing thissentence will amount to the torture of an individual by the state andcontradicts Malaysia’s international commitments to uphold human rightsprinciples.

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

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




Post a Comment

<< Home