Malaysian woman sentenced to caning meets royals

Clearly, the royals are with the victims and not with those stupid Muslim extremists.

KUALA LUMPUR : A Muslim Malaysian woman sentenced to be caned for drinking beer was granted a royal audience Wednesday but her fate remains unclear six months after the punishment was suspended, her spokesman said.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 33, was ordered to receive six strokes of the cane by a religious court last year, in a case that has fuelled a debate over rising "Islamisation" of multi-ethnic Malaysia.

State media has reported that Kartika's sentence, which was put on hold pending a review, would only be carried out after she met with the royal rulers of Pahang state where she was caught drinking at a hotel bar.

"Kartika had an audience with the Pahang crown prince for about 30 minutes this morning but we are not in a position to make any comment on what transpired," Kartika's spokesman Amlir Ayat told AFP.

"Any decision or announcement will be made by the palace. Kartika is still firm with her stand," Amlir said, referring to Kartika's previous calls for the authorities to punish her without delay.

Under Malaysia's monarchy, the state sultans -- who take turns to serve for five years as king -- are also in charge of religious affairs in their state.

Kartika was to have been the first woman to be caned under Islamic law in Malaysia but in a surprise move, three other women were caned last month for having sex out of wedlock.

The 33-year-old mother-of-two stared down religious authorities after being convicted, saying she was ready to be caned, refusing to lodge an appeal, and challenging them to cane her in public.

But she won a surprise reprieve in late August when she was detained and then abruptly released by religious officials who had planned to take her to a jail where she was to undergo the thrashing.

The government said at the time that the sentence was "too harsh" and could damage Malaysia's reputation.

However, it has defended the caning of the three other women on February 9 at a women's prison outside the capital Kuala Lumpur for having sex out of wedlock.

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