Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wednesday September 16, 2009

Syariah judge stands by his caning decision


KUANTAN: Although his decisions to whip Muslims caught for drinking has been criticised by some, Kuantan Syariah High Court judge Datuk Abdul Rahman Md Yunos makes no apologies for his actions.

“I am merely carrying out my duties as a court official as well as to society,” he said when contacted yesterday.

When asked to comment on the controversy surrounding his decisions – including the caning of part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno – Abdul Rahman replied it was unethical for him to give his opinion.

Abdul Rahman

On whether he was affected by the publicity surrounding his decision and the prominence his judgment has received worldwide, Abdul Rahman said he has not read the comments.

Abdul Rahman, 53, has been a Kuantan Syariah High Court judge since 1996 when the Pahang Religious Affairs Department and the Pahang Syariah Judiciary Department were separated at the end of 1995. Prior to that he was the Chief Kadi.

Abdul Rahman, from Kampung Kuala Bera in Bera, Pahang, is married with five children. He is a graduate of Al-Azhar University and obtained his degree in Islamic Syariah Law in 1982 and a Law Diploma from the International Islamic University Malaysia in 1989.

He has ruled on six Muslims accused of consuming liquor from 2004 until this year.

The first case involved brothers Mohamed Nizam Ibrahim and Mohamed Nasha who were given the maximum sentence of six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 each on June 14, 2005 to drinking stout at a restaurant in Jalan Bukit Ubi here on Aug 19, 2004. They have appealed and the case is still pending.

The next case involved three people, including Kartika, 32. She was sentenced to six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 for drinking beer in a Cherating nightclub on July 11, last year. The court handed down the ruling after Kartika pleaded guilty to the charge on July 20.

The other two people involved were a waitress who was arrested with Kartika, and a man caught during a raid by the religious vice squad in the nightclub.

The waitress and the man were each fined RM5,000 and sentenced to six strokes of the cane after they pleaded guilty. They filed appeals against the sentence and their cases are still pending.

Abdul Rahman’s decision to impose caning on Kartika created a public uproar locally and abroad. On Aug 24, the sentence was postponed out of respect for the month of Ramadan.

The latest case was on Monday when Abdul Rahman ordered an Indonesian worker to serve a year in jail and be whipped six times for drinking alcohol in a restaurant in Jalan Pasar at 10am, on Aug 27.

Odd-job worker Nazarudin Kamaruddin, 46, who has permanent resident status, became the first person in the state to be jailed for consuming alcohol in public.


Kartika to be caned after fasting month


KUANTAN: Model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, who was scheduled to be caned this week for drinking beer, has been released temporarily as it is not advisable for the sentence to be meted out during the fasting month.

Pahang's Religious Affairs, Dakwah, Unity and NGOs Exco chairman Datuk Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz said the state Religious Department enforcement officers, had gone to Kartika’s house in Sungai Siput, Perak on Monday to issue a warrant of arrest for her to be sent to the Kajang Prison for the whipping sentence to be carried out.

"At the same time, they received a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers advising them to release Kartika temporarily as it was not advisable for her to undergo the punishment during the fasting month. "The sentence remains. She will be caned after the fasting month. She has been released but only temporarily," he said.

Muslim model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, waves to her family and others as she is taken away by Islamic religious officers on Monday. - APpic

Meanwhile in KUALA KANGSAR, Kartika said she wants the whipping to carried out as scheduled.

Describing herself as "a football being kicked around", she questioned her status because the religious department had not given her any definite answer for not carrying out the punishment on her.

She was speaking with reporters at the Kuala Kangsar police station where she lodged a report to declare that she had not run away from the law and that the religious authorities had not taken her to the Kajang Prison as scheduled

Earlier Monday, AP had reported that the model, who was scheduled to be caned this week for drinking beer, had been released.

It said that three religious department officers wemt to her house in Sg Siput on Monday and took her away in a van. But they returned after about 30 minutes and said they had received “instructions from the higher powers” to release her, AP quoted Kartika’s father, Shukarno Abdul Muttalib, as saying.

The officials said that “for now, the sentence cannot be carried out,” Shukarno said.

Officials had said earlier that Kartika, a 32-year-old mother of two, would be caned sometime during the week but no specific date was set.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno (R) is welcomed by her father Suhkarno after the Islamic Religious Office returned her to her father's house in Sungei Siput.

Badaruddin Ahmad Bustami, an Islamic Department official, said prison representatives suddenly informed department authorities who took custody of Kartika that they “cannot accept her.” He said the prison did not give any reasons.

“We don’t know what to do. We will discuss this with the Shariah court” to determine whether the sentence should be waived, Badaruddin told The Associated Press.

Prison Department officials could not immediately be reached.

Shukarno said he and his daughter would head to a district police station to file statements about her abrupt release. He said they were confused about what had happened and were worried that officials might later accuse his daughter of running away from them.

Kartika was arrested in a raid for drinking beer at a hotel lounge last year for breaching the Muslim-majority country’s Shariah law, which forbids Muslims to consume alcohol.

She was sentenced by a Syariah court in July in what was considered a warning to other Muslims to abide by religious laws. Kartika did not appeal and said she was willing to be caned.

Dressed in a full-length cream-and-red satin gown and a head scarf, Kartika emerged from her house and walked past a group of about 50 local Muslims who said prayers for her.

After a last kiss with her 5-year-old daughter, she got into the silver van along with her sister and the Islamic officials.

She did not speak to the horde of media assembled outside the house in Sg Siput.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Kartika had said she wants to be caned because “I want to respect the law.”