Malaysia PM urges caning appeal

PM says appeal against sentence for drinking beer would get sympathetic hearing.

    On Monday Kartika had her sentence
    postponed until after Ramadan [AFP]

    However, speaking by phone to Al Jazeera from her home in Malaysia's Pahang state, Kartika told Al Jazeera she had no intention of appealing because she wants the ordeal to be over.

    She was first arrested in 2007 for drinking a beer in a hotel nightclub and was tried in a sharia court. 

    'Unjust'

    She was supposed to be caned in prison this week, but on Monday officials announced that the sentence had been postponed until after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

    Najib said an appeal against the sentence would receive a sympathetic hearning [EPA]

    Human rights group Amnesty International had condemned the sentence, and Malaysian pressure group Sisters in Islam told Al Jazeera that the caning was "still unjust" despite the decision to postpone the sentence until after Ramadan.

    Malaysia, which has large Chinese and Indian communities, uses a dual-track legal system where sharia courts can try Muslims for religious and moral offences under Islamic law.

    Alcohol is widely available in the country but is forbidden for the majority Muslim community, who make up just over half the population.

    Muslims can be fined, jailed for up to three years or given six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol, but prosecutions are extremely rare.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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