KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Authorities in Malaysia caned three Muslim women for having extramarital sex, making them the first women in the country to receive such punishment under Islamic law, an official said Wednesday.
The caning of women has fueled debate about whether Islamic conservatism was intruding into people's personal lives in this moderate Muslim-majority country. Another woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, was sentenced to caning last year for drinking beer.
Kartika's sentence has not been carried out, but authorities at a women's prison near Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 9 caned three other Muslim women who had been convicted in an Islamic Shariah court for having sex outside of marriage, according to a Home Ministry official. They did not explain why the punishment was only announced Wednesday.
Each woman received between four and six strokes of a rattan cane, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
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