taken into custody to face her sentence
Religious officials in Malaysia have spared a Muslim mother of two from being caned after she was caught drinking beer in a hotel.
In a surprise announcement early on Monday an official from the state of Pahang's Islamic Affairs department said Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno had been freed on orders from "higher authorities".
"The warrant cannot be executed," Sharafuddin Zainal Ariffin, head of enforcement for the state of Pahang's Islamic Affairs Department, told reporters.
Kartika had earlier been taken into custody for transportation to a prison near Kuala Lumpur, where she had been expected to face six lashes with a rattan cane.
She had been convicted in July by a sharia court and would have been the first woman in Malaysia to have been caned.
Kartika, a former nurse and part-time model, had earlier told Al Jazeera that she had accepted the sentence and was prepared to be caned.
Malaysia, which has large Chinese and Indian communities, uses a dual-track legal system where sharia courts - those following Islamic law - can try Muslims for religious and moral offences.
Alcohol is widely available in the country but is theoretically forbidden for the majority Muslim Malay community, who make up just over half the population.
Muslims can be fined, jailed for up to three years or given six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol, but prosecutions are extremely rare.
Source: Al Jazeera (English)