Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday decried the public caning of two women in Terengganu state this week, saying it tarnished the image of Islam as he called for lighter sentences to prevent a repetition of the case.
The women each received six strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to charges linked to allegedly attempting to have sex in a parked car in the religiously conservative Terengganu. The caning, which took place inside a courtroom at the Terengganu Sharia High Court, was witnessed by more than 100 people, including government officials and journalists.
“What’s important is to show that Islam is not a ruthless religion that dishes out sentences that humiliate people. This is not what Islam encourages,” Mahathir said in a video posted on Facebook.
His cabinet had determined that the punishment meted out by the Sharia court was harsh, considering the two women were first-time offenders, he said.
“That is why we are of the opinion that even if there are such cases, consideration should be given to the circumstances, in Islam we can give lighter sentences,” according to Mahathir.
Islam is the dominant religion in multi-ethnic and multi-faith Malaysia. The country has a dual justice system made up of federal courts and Sharia courts that function separately.
Full story: BenarNews
Hadi Azmi and Ali Nufael
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