Bar Council slams ‘harsh penalty’ for Friday prayer truants

Bar Council president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor has called for justice tempered with mercy.

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council has criticised as “harsh and excessive” a shariah court sentence of a one-month jail term and fine of over RM2000 on six people in Terengganu for skipping Friday prayers.

Council president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the sentence was harsh in view of the nature of the offence and the age of the offenders.

He said while Islamic personal laws binds a Muslim, it has to be reminded that justice must be tempered with mercy.

He said the Bar Council felt that a lighter sentence would serve as a “positive admonishment for would be offenders”.

“We are of the view that sentencing under one’s religious law, must not be seen as merciless and harsh but rather just and compassionate with an objective of educating, and not punishing,” he said in a statement.

Earlier today it was reported that the six men, including two teenagers, were fined and sentenced to jail after pleading guilty at the shariah court in Kuala Terengganu, in what was believed to be the first such case in the country.

They were caught bathing at the popular picnic spot at Sekayu waterfall in August.

Abdul Fareed said the Bar urged that a review of the sentence be carried out, “to reflect the grace and nobility within the precepts of Shariah law.”