Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno who was to be caned for drinking beer has been given a reprieve. At least during this month of Ramadan."The sentence remains. She will be caned after the fasting month. She has been released but only temporarily," said Pahang Religious Affairs committee chairman Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz.
(Picture of Kartika waving to her family as she was being taken in a van enroute to Kajang Prison.)
Mohd Sahfri said the decision to postpone the convicted part-time model's caning was made after the AG chambers advised that it should not be done during Ramadan.
The mother of two was arrested during a raid at the Legend Hotel Lounge in Cherating at about 11.40pm on July 20, last year, for breaching Syariah law which forbids Muslims from consuming alcohol.
Kartika, 32, was fined RM5,000 and sentenced to six strokes of the cane last month by a religious court. She paid the fine.
However, prison authorities said for Kartika to be caned, she should be jailed. An order was then made to have her detained.
Kartika refused to appeal against the sentence and said she was ready to be caned.
She said she wanted the sentence to be done publicly since it was meant to be a lesson to others.
Under Syariah law, caning or whipping is mild.
According to reports, religious department officers had gone to her parents' house in Sungai Siput to take her to the Kajang Women's Prison where she was to be detained.
She was to have served her sentence there.
Kartika was released before she could even be brought to the prison.
I know many people - across the religious divide -- have expressed outrage over her case.
Obviously, punishment for the offence under Syariah laws leaves so much grey area and loopholes. Just look at how it all went from the day Kartika was convicted.
Now, she is in limbo. She's ready to be caned but she's been told "not yet". The woman wants to get it over and done with, for crying out loud.
Frankly, she did not have to be caned, although it is provided for. Yet, she had to be jailed in order to serve the sentence (caning), something the Syariah judge had overlooked.
Makes me wonder whether the judge was overzealous when meting out the punishment.
Perhaps, Kartika should consider appealing against her sentence.
But, latest is that she and her father made separate reports at the Kuala Kangsar district police headquarters.
Kartika said her report was to safeguard herself as she had not evaded the warrant of arrest that was issued.
"There is no official black and white on my status. What is happening here? I am extremely sad as I have prepared myself to receive the punishment," she was quoted.
Shukarno lodged a report against the Pahang Religious Department for treating his daughter like a football and putting her in limbo.
Meanwhile, don't we have a reputation to protect?