Malaysia stays hand on caning of woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno
Malaysian authorities yesterday abruptly postponed the caning of a model for drinking beer until after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but insisted the punishment would not be scrapped despite criticism it was too harsh. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a Muslim and 32-year-old mother of two, had been in a van en route to a women’s prison for the caning when Islamic officials who took her into custody drove her back home and released her. Mohamad Sahfri Abdul Aziz, a state legislator in charge of religious affairs, later said the Attorney-General’s office had advised that the caning should be delayed for compassionate reasons until after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday. “The sentence is not being cancelled,” he said. Shukarno was officially released from custody, but she refused to get out of the van. “I am speechless but I’m not getting out of the vehicle; I want to know what my status is. I want a black-and-white statement from them,” she said.