KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Sisters in Islam (SIS) has lashed at Terengganu for sentencing a single mother with imprisonment and whipping for soliciting, despite media reports that she committed the offence to support her daughter.
The women’s rights group pointed out that the women had had not received any financial support from her ex-husband, and was given the maximum punishment although she was a first-time offender.
“The zeal with which the punishment was meted out ignores these circumstances that previously would have mitigated sentencing Where is the compassion that lies at the heart of Islamic teachings?” the group asked in a statement.
It also highlighted that Section 25 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001 explicitly targets women, making them disproportionately vulnerable to and affected by this law.
The man who was said to be the woman’s client had reportedly been released without any charge.
SIS also expressed its disappointment that the civil groups’ call for a moratorium on corporal punishment was ignored.
“Today's case clearly demonstrates that the humiliation experienced by women before, during and after the whipping is not considered a relevant factor of their pain, when in fact humiliation is a key aspect of the punishment and causes lasting psychological trauma,” it said.
“We strongly reiterate that whipping does little, if anything at all, to ‘educate’. In fact, such a punishment, which is void of compassion and mercy, only tarnishes Islam and reinforces Islamophobic stereotypes that Islam discriminates against women.”
The woman, who is from Selangor, was arrested when she was with a man, believed to be her client, in a room at Felda Residence Hotel here at about 11.45pm last September 17.
She was not represented by any lawyer during her sentencing today.