UPDATE: Malaysia: Kartika released, caning sentence postponed

On 20 August, the Syariah High Court in the Malaysian state of Pahang Shariah Court ordered that Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno be remanded at the Kajang women’s prison in the state of Selangor from Monday, 24 August. Madam Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, had been sentenced to six strokes of the cane and fined RM5,000 (approximately US$ 1,400) after she pleaded guilty to consuming beer two years ago at a hotel in Pahang. Madam Kartika has since been released, but the sentence of caning is reportedly still due to be carried out and has only been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Pahang's Religious Affairs, Dakwah, Unity and NGOs Exco chairman Datuk Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz said the state Religious Department enforcement officers, had gone to Kartika’s house in Sungai Siput, Perak on Monday to issue a warrant of arrest for her to be sent to the Kajang Prison for the whipping sentence to be carried out.

"At the same time, they received a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers advising them to release Kartika temporarily as it was not advisable for her to undergo the punishment during the fasting month. "The sentence remains. She will be caned after the fasting month. She has been released but only temporarily," he said. (Source: The Star)

According to the New Straits Times (NST), this is the second time such a sentence has been handed down. In 2005, the same judge sentenced two Muslim brothers to six strokes of the cane after they were caught drinking. However, the caning has yet to be carried out as the men are appealing against the decision. Malaysia has a two-track legal system, with the civil courts operating alongside state-based syariah courts. Muslims are governed by syariah laws in family and personal matters, while ethnic Chinese, Indians and other races come under civil courts.

NST editor adds that it is important to be clear that this "syariah" caning ordered by a religious court is not to be confused with Malaysia's judicial canings ordered by a criminal court (to which females are never sentenced). Source: http://www.corpun.com/myj00901.htm