You are currently browsing posts tagged with Cruel and Unusual Punishment

DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Caning Of Kartika, The Malaysian Muslim Woman Who Had A Beer

October 2nd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In December 2007, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32 year-old Malaysian Muslim woman, was at a hotel bar in the beach town of Cherating and had a beer.

Kartika with her two children (AP)

She was busted by Islamic enforcement officers, because Malaysia has a dual law system, and Muslims are subject to not only federal law but to sharia (syariah), or Islamic religious law, and according to the latter, it’s illegal to drink. She was then handed a caning sentence by the religious court last month.

After both an international and domestic outcry over the severity of this punishment–Malaysia wants to present itself as a “moderate” Islamic nation and Kartika would be the first woman to be caned under sharia law–the religious court decided to halt the caning and review their decision. But Monday, an appeals panel upheld the decision, and the caning of the married mother of two will be carried out after Ramadan.

One fascinating aspect of this legal case is Kartika’s decision not to appeal her sentence. Malaysia’s own Prime Minister, Najib Razak, urged her to appeal back in August, presumably to avoid international embarrassment. But Kartika refused. On what grounds depends on what source you believe.

Bernama, the official Malaysian government news agency, reported that her refusal to appeal was rooted in shame over her “crime”:

“I feel ashamed of myself for showing disrespect to my own religion. I want to respect (the court’s) decision and go through the punishment…I respect the law and Islam. Even before the sentence was passed in court, I had already made up my mind to accept the punishment and go through the ordeal,” she said.

International news agency AFP had a radically different spin on the matter, however:

Kartika, a part-time model and mother-of-two, has stared down religious authorities by refusing to appeal against her sentence, and challenging them to cane her in public.

So what cause is Kartika a martyr for (in the colloquial and not the crazazy extremist sense)? Islam or human rights? It’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure–accepting being caned for drinking a beer on whatever grounds is some Hardass Asian shit right there.

Kartika with her sister after the caning was postponed in August (AP)

[USA Today: Court upholds caning of Malaysian woman for drinking beer]


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A is for Ashamed

September 6th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Public shaming as legal punishment fascinates me. It’s imposed in several states, and it raises a lively debate about what qualifies as cruel and unusual. But does it work? A lot of people look at America as a shameless culture–hence, the Ugly American image–and we seem to have an endless supply of “faux shame, faux shame.” Slapped with a DUI? Say you’re sorry, go to rehab, get out and drive drunk, get another DUI, say you’re sorry again, go back to rehab. Rinse and repeat.

So does shame stick in America, whether it’s legally or culturally handed down?

The most recent news of public shaming I’ve read about comes from Everett, WA. City Councilman Ron Gipson–who I’m speculating has an axe to grind because that “p” in his name should have been a “b”–has proposed that the city enforce what he calls a “modern scarlet letter”-type punishment for people caught soliciting prostitutes. Gipson wants guilty parties to have their mugshots exhibited on local TV and the internet.

“How would they feel if their daughters were victimized on the streets?” (Gipson) said of men who exploit streetwalkers.

Humiliation, in addition to jail or fines, is just punishment, he said.

“That’s harsh? That’s reality. As the old saying goes: ‘You play, you pay.’”

This type of retribution is already in place in Denver, Fort Worth, and Chicago. So if you’re looking for a hooker in any of these towns, know that she probably won’t come cheap.

(and, yes, I’m gagging on the unintended pun)


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Shame ★ Mart

July 25th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

You may remember that awhile back, I wrote about a 12 year-old girl named Miasha Williams who was publicly shamed by her mother after bullying some fellow students.

Public shaming must be a trend, because I read this story in yesterday’s online Business Week, “Shame and Shoplifting at Wal-Mart: An Alabama judge’s unusual efforts to discourage store theft highlight the retail giant’s struggle with ‘shrinkage’.”

In Attalla, Alabama, one hour outside Birmingham, a local judge, Kenneth Robertson, has handed out more than 20 public-shaming sentences in lieu of fines or jail time to Wal-Mart shoplifters. This is Lisa King Fithian, who stole a pet playpen and a lava lamp, valued at $26.97:

Well, THANK JESUS. Someone is finally standing up for the little guy. Who else could protect Wal-Mart and its struggling business Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today reported record sales and earnings for the quarter ended Apr. 30, 2007. Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2008 were $85.387 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent over the first quarter of fiscal year 2007. from the shameful thieving masses?

And Wal-Mart’s response to Judge Robertson’s shame sentences?

While the punishment is likely a deterrent to shoplifting, we have communicated with the judge that moving forward, we would prefer that these actions not be completed on store property. We do not oppose the use of wearing the signs, but we think it should take place on public property.

Yeah! Fuck yeah! Justice is served! Take that, sticky fingers!

Read more about Wal-Mart’s shameful business practices when it comes to workers’ wages, employee health care, gender discriminasian, unions, and, sheeit, just about everything else, at


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