Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teens jailed for dumping baby... but what's wrong with this picture?

Sadly, it's all too common for this to happen, especially in a society like Malaysia where having a child out of wedlock is severely stigmatized. Which brings us to this case:
A Malaysian court has sentenced a teenage couple to two years detention for leaving their newborn in a trash bin - a penalty that a prosecutor said was harsh in order to send a message about the consequences of unwanted pregnancies.

A district court in southern Malacca state on Tuesday sentenced Mohamad Zolhalmi Khamis, 18, to two years in prison and his girlfriend, who will turn 18 next month, to a detention school for juvenile criminals until she turns 20, said prosecutor Farah Wahida Mohamad Nor.
From the Chronicle-Journal. Now as most readers will have already guessed, I'm not one of the hang 'em high crowd, and this sentence doesn't seem particularly light. However, Malaysia is known for harsh sentences for crimes much less severe than abandoning a baby. Consider the fact that if, instead of abandoning a baby, those teens had been caught with heroin, they would have been hanged. Dump a baby, they lock you up; that makes sense -- at the very least, it's an act of criminal negligence. But a bit of smack and they string you up? Priorities, people...

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