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Sunday, September 20, 2009

> SIS files revision against Kartika's whipping

Sisters in Islam yesterday filed an application to the Syariah High Court in Kuantan asking for a revision and a stay of execution against Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno's whipping sentence.

“As an advocacy group working on women's rights in Islam, SIS is acting in the public interest so as to resolve the controversies and to provide clarity on this issue,” said SIS executive director Dr Hamidah Marican.

Kartika, 32, was arrested at a hotel nightclub and sentenced to six strokes of the cane two month ago in a rare prosecution of religious laws that ban alcohol for Muslims.

Her insistence that she was ready to face her punishment and would not appeal threw the government and religious authorities into a spin as they attempted to carry out the sentence on a woman for the first time.

Last month, as the mother-of-two was detained ahead of the thrashing, she was abruptly released and the punishment is now being held back until after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Hamidah also expressed concern that the Pahang Religious Department intended to execute the sentence on Kartika without any prior notice despite newspaper reports that the state chief syarie judge has also filed for a revision of Kartika's sentence

“Since Kartika's case has generated much public concern, nationally and internationally, the insistence on executing the sentence when legal avenues for revision and clarification have not been exhausted shows an utter disregard of a matter of great public and international interest,” said Hamidah.

“SIS urges the authorities to refrain from executing the sentence on Kartika until all legal and other avenues have been exhausted.”

Kartika: Leave me alone

Kartika, who refused to file an appeal against the sentence, had on Wednesday issued a statement that she wanted be left alone and that the caning to proceed.

According to her, too many individuals had tried to press her into filing for a revision of the sentence.

“As such, I give notice that I do not want to be disturbed by any individuals, politicians, government organisations and non-governmental organisations...," she said.

Kartika was fined RM5,000 and and sentenced to six strokes of the rotan by the Kuantan Syariah High Court on July 20 after pleading guilty to drinking alochol at a hotel in Cherating on July 11, 2008.

On Aug 24, the caning was postponed by Pahang Syariah High Court judge Abdul Rahman Yunus out of respect for the month of Ramadan - Malaysiakini.