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Judicial CP - December 1991

New Zealand Herald, Auckland, 19 December 1991

Cohen given whipping

From Tim Donoghue

Malaysia has rejected an appeal for clemency from the New Zealand Government and given a six-stroke whipping to the convicted New Zealand drug addict Aaron Cohen.

Cohen's lawyer, Mr Karpal Singh, said from Kuala Lumpur last night that Malaysia had whipped a sick person.

"The magnitude of the shame astounds me," Mr Karpal Singh said.

Cohen, aged 25, had been whipped in Penang jail last Thursday morning. Mr Karpal Singh said he would visit the jail today to check on his client's condition.

He had been told of the whipping following a visit to the jail by a Catholic nun yesterday.

"No notice of the execution of the whipping was received by me. He received his six strokes last Thursday.

"The prison authorities have confirmed it after I heard secondhand it had been carried out," Mr Karpal Singh said.

Cohen was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment and a six-stroke whipping on September 1, 1987, for possession of 34.61 grams of heroin.

Straits Times, Singapore, 20 December 1991

NZ addict caned despite appeals

KUALA LUMPUR -- A New Zealander convicted of drug trafficking was caned in jail last week despite appeals to the Malaysian King and government to review the court order on the grounds that he was an addict, according to lawyer Karpal Singh.

He said on Wednesday that the caning of 24-year-old Aaron Cohen last Thursday went against an earlier pledge by Deputy Home Affairs Minister Megat Junid Ayob that the government would not whip addicts because they were sick people who should instead be rehabilitated.

He said that he had sent a petition dated Nov 15 to King Azlan Shah, seeking postponement of the caning until the ruler decided whether the court order should be carried out.


Cohen was ordered to be caned six times in addition to serving a life jail term while his mother, initially sentenced to death, was later also jailed for life.

In October, the Supreme Court rejected Cohen's appeal for exemption from caning despite Mr Karpal Singh's argument that the High Court had acknowledged that the New Zealander was an addict.

In Wellington, New Zealand Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said that the government regretted deeply that one of its citizens had been caned in a Malaysian prison.

Under Malaysia's drug laws, anyone found with more than 15g of heroin and 200g of cannabis will be sentenced to death. -- AFP, Reuter.

blob Previous: 7 February 1990 - Bid to get whipping set aside challenged

blob Follow-up: 27 June 1996 - Drug-trafficking NZ mother, son pardoned

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