Sisters condemns caning of 3 Muslim women

LETTER
Sisters in Islam condemns caning of three Muslim women under syariah law

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is shocked that the Prisons Department has caned three Muslim women for shariah offences.

Given that several issues on shariah and constitutional grounds, sentencing guidelines and Malaysia’s commitments to international human rights instruments that were raised on the Kartika case remain unresolved, we question the government's motive in proceeding with the caning of Muslim women.

And to do this surreptitiously implies that the government wanted to hide this degrading and unjust treatment from public scrutiny. We would also like to know whether the men involved were also found guilty for illicit sex and similarly sentenced and caned.

We urge the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to take immediate steps to address the several unresolved issues arising from the caning sentence carried out on these women and the Kartika case.

This case constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia. It violates Constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination as whipping of women under Shariah Criminal Offences legislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable by caning under Section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

We once again urge the government to review caning as a form of punishment as it violates international human rights principles which regard whipping and other forms of corporal punishment as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Moreover, research has shown that caning is not an effective deterrent, even to violent or sexual crimes.

Dr Hamidah Marican
Executive Director
Sisters in Islam
17 Feb 2010

MySinchew 2010.02.18