WORLD BRIEFING

Times Wire Reports

The first woman in Muslim-majority Malaysia to face caning for drinking beer was reprieved because of the holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic officials had taken Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, into custody and were driving her to a women's prison for the caning when they abruptly turned around and sent her back to her family home in northern Malaysia.

Enforcement officials of the Islamic Religious Department arrested Kartika in a raid for drinking beer at a hotel lounge in Cherating in Pahang state in December 2007. Kartika was sentenced to six lashes of a rattan cane by the Sharia court last month. A state legislator in charge of religious affairs said the attorney general's office advised that Kartika's caning should be delayed for compassionate reasons.

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