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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bebas: Public caning is wrong and unjust

Pro-secular activist Azrul Khalib says believing that an excessive and punitive approach will deter moral or religious offences is simplistic and wrong.
Azrul-Mohd-Khalib-public-canePETALING JAYA: Bebas has called on the Kelantan government not to be obsessed with punishments and punishing others.

Referring to the passing of an amendment to the state’s shariah law enactment allowing for public caning to take place in the future, Azrul Mohd Khalib of the pro-secular activist group said it was concerned because such punishments were “not an example of Islamic mercy and compassion”.
“Public caning is neither a demonstration of righteousness and justice nor an example of Islamic mercy and compassion.
“Those calling for enhanced shariah legislation including the proposal to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or Act 355, supposedly to uphold the dignity of Islam, continue to understand the concept and administration of justice as simply offence and punishment, specifically increasing the severity and harshness of punishments,” Azrul said in a statement released by the group today.
He added that believing that an excessive and punitive approach would deter moral or religious offences was an outdated way of thinking.
“Increasing the severity of punishments in the belief that it would deter or prevent people from committing moral offences is simplistic and wrong.
“There have been no proven studies or supportive evidence presented to prove this reasoning.
“The disingenuous claim that public caning is done only to educate and not to hurt demonstrates the lack of understanding by policy makers on the impact of such displays of public humiliation and voyeurism,” Azrul said.
He also commented on the amendment allowing for the use of handcuffs by religious enforcement officers in Kelantan.
“The use of handcuffs on suspects amounts to an assault and is unlawful unless it can be justified.
“We have heard no justification or argument whatsoever regarding the need for handcuffs, normally used by law enforcement professionals, to now be utilised by religious authorities to enforce religious and moral laws,” he said.
He also lamented the lack of understanding by relevant authorities in the state on the issues of law enforcement, crime and the impact of such punishments.
“Such people should not be given the responsibility and trust to create and administer laws, particularly those which impose moral policing.”
Azrul also warned of the negative image that public caning could bring to Malaysia, giving the example of Aceh in Indonesia, where shariah law is applied and public caning is a spectacle. -FMT

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