KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Syariah Court recorded five cases involving whipping sentence since 2011.
The cases included three open whipping sentence for the offence of illegal sexual intercourse (zina).
State Syariah Chief Justice Datuk Jasri @ Nasip Matjakir said the three cases of open whipping sentence were from Tawau Syariah Court in 2014 and 2016 and were held in the courtroom.
“The 2014 case which involved a woman, was supposed to be held in Tawau prison. However, the offender was only punished with whippings, so it could not be done in the prison area. The whipping sentence is done at the request of the offender.
“Hence, the prison’s side recommended for the sentence to be exercised in the open court.
The whipping is executed just as the same as in the prison in which the health condition of the accused should be good. If the accused is a woman, she should definitely not be pregnant during the execution of whipping.
“For this reason, medical officers will be in the court in order to verify the health condition of the accused. If the health condition of the accused is not good then the punishment should be deferred.
“Syariah whipping sentence is not meant to hurt or cause death but to educate the public instead,” he said when answering a question on whipping sentence which took place in Tawau Syariah Court in 2014.
Jasri also said that he believed that the case in 2014 was postponed due to the confirmation of the accuseds pregnancy.
He was met during the Sabah Syarie Lawyers Accreditation Ceremony, here yesterday.
Meanwhile in 2016, a case involving a couple who faced whipping sentence for committing a similar offence.
However, the execution of whipping was carried out in a civil court following the presence of a group of seminar participants who wanted to see the execution of sharia whipping sentence.
Video of the whipping executed against the couple went viral in Youtube.
Commenting on the video that went viral, Jasri said it was not an offence because it could help the public to understand in differentiating the syaria whipping sentence, whether it is cruel or rather educating.
Other than that, there were two cases around 2011 – 2012 at the Syariah Court here in which whipping sentences were executed in prison as the accused persons were sentenced to jail and whipping.
All of the cases of illegal sexual intercourse were charged under Section 80 (2) of the Sabah Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 which provides for a jail term of up to three years or a fine of RM5,000 and a maximum of six strokes of the cane, upon conviction.
According to Jasri, the execution of the open whipping sentence was enough to help the government to explain on the proposed amemdments in Bill 355.
The execution of the sentence put Sabah as a reference, he explained.
On the implementation of open whipping sentence being carried out in public places as approved by the Kelantan State Government, but he did not want to comment on the matter.