Fan gets too close to football for religious comfort

A 21-year-old Malaysian university student was yesterday fined RM1,200 for committing the Islamic religious crime of khalwat (close proximity) with one of the imported football stars of the Malaysian Premier League club, Kelantan. A pharmacy student at the International Islamic University, Ms Farrah Aina Safian Sauri, 21, pleaded guilty to committing the offence with Argentinian footballer Gustavo Alberto Romero at a flat in Kubang Kerian at 1.15am on 7 May. She was charged under Section 9(2) of the Kelantan (state) Syariah Criminal Code at the Kota Baru Lower Syariah Court. The offence carries a maximum fine of RM2,000 or a year in prison.

When the charge was read to her before Syariah Court judge Nik Najib Che Hassan, Farrah Aina pleaded for a light sentence, saying she was still studying. "I am the eldest in my family and they have placed all their hopes on me. I have repented and I promise never to repeat the offence." She admitted visiting the flat of Romero, a striker on the state team, on at least three other occasions.

Syariah public prosecutor Abu Bakar Abdullah Kutty said according to the facts of the case, enforcement officers from the Kelantan Islamic Affairs Department (JAHEAIK) found the woman in the flat Romero shared with another imported player, Thai national Sarif Sanui.

Judge Nik Najib said Farrah Aina was old enough to be aware of the consequences of her actions, Sheridan Mahavera of the New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur) reported. Aina, who was unrepresented, paid the fine.