Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a former model and nurse will not be caned for drinking beer in Malaysia.
Kartika was charged with violating a law prohibiting Muslims from drinking alcohol. Marina said it raised a key question about how Islamic laws are applied in Malaysia. "Are they working to dispense justice or to provide moral lessons for the rest of us?" she said.
Malaysia follows a dual-track justice system. Shariah laws apply to Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of the 27 million population, in all personal matters. Non-Muslims — the Chinese, Indian, Sikh and other minorities — are covered by civil laws, and are free to drink.
Often the two sets of laws collide and the winner usually is the Islamic system. For example, a Muslim who converts from Islam is guilty of apostasy under Shariah laws — punishable by jail and fine — even though freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution.
She paid the fine ($1,400) and decided not to appeal her sentence. Had she appealed, lawyers say, the caning would have been struck down and the case would have died a natural death.
I would have been caned the day I turned 21!
AP Photo/Mark Baker