Q:

Are there still countries where women can be caned as a formal punishment?

A:

Quick Answer

Although most countries have banned caning as a formal punishment for women, a few countries still allow the practice as a form of judicial corporal punishment as of 2015. Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the Aceh State of Indonesia, Nigeria and Somalia allow caning of women in certain circumstances.

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Full Answer

The caning of women is most common in Saudi Arabia, where there are many reports of unauthorized and excessive lashings in women's prisons. In Saudi Arabia, canings are administered with a thin reed by a man holding a book under his arm. The book is intended to prevent the individual inflicting punishment from raising his arm too high and using excessive force.

In most other countries, women are only punished by caning as a part of Sharia, or Muslim, law. In the Aceh State of Indonesia, which is historically and politically Muslim, two women and their male extramarital partners were caned for indecency by the Sharia police in 2011. In Malaysia, woman may be caned under Sharia law, but the punishment has only been implemented once and sparked international outrage.

Nevertheless, caning survives as a common practice for men and boys in many other countries, including in Africa and the Caribbean. In 1994, an American exchange student was caned for vandalism in Singapore. The incident received international attention, but the practice still continues in Singapore and elsewhere.

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