Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country’s conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment.
Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times having been found guilty of having sex with two different men. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of sentencing, had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child and the court said the teenager’s pregnancy was proof of her guilt. In contrast, the accused men were acquitted, with one of them escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge.
The head of the country’s Criminal Court, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, told the island’s Minivan News that flogging was a deterrent and not designed to cause injury and said the person carrying out the punishment was prohibited from raising his arm higher than his shoulder. “The public should know this lady or man have done these things and they will stay away from these things,” he said. As to why fewer men were prosecuted, he said: “A man, after making this problem, will go away and maybe the woman will have relations with more than one man and won’t know who was responsible. Or the man denies it.”
In the Maldives, an island nation made up of more than 1200 atolls, the issue of flogging has become a political battleground following the whipping of the teenager earlier this month outside a government building in the capital, Male. Reports said that the women required hospital treatment after she was flogged in front of a jeering crowd of men.
A woman has been sentenced by a Malaysian Islamic court to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer in a nightclub.
The penalty also includes a fine of US$1,400 for the offence, which was committed in Kuantan, in the Malaysian state of Pahang.
The part-time Singaporean model, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, pleaded guilty to the charge and was handed the maximum penalty.
The judge reminded the court that consuming alcohol is prohibited for Muslims, and said he had decided on the severe penalty to serve as a lesson to Muslims.
In July last year a similar ruling was also handed down against a waitress who was arrested by religious police in a hotel nightclub near Kuantan.