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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Malaysian couple to sue religious police
Malaysian women wearing headscarves
There are strict rules on keeping unrelated Muslim men and women apart
A Malaysian couple who have been married for 22 years plan to sue government officials who burst into their bedroom and arrested them under strict Islamic morality laws.

Abdul Halim Zainal Abidin and his wife Nooriah were staying in a rented room when the incident happened two years ago.

They were unable to produce their marriage certificate immediately, so the officials detained them for seven hours under a law which forbids unchaperoned close contact between unrelated Muslim men and women.

The couple, who have three children, are seeking compensation for wrongful arrest and humiliation.

Phone a friend

The couple were arrested when religious department officials in Perak state burst into their rented room in Ipoh - 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after midnight in October 2000.

The New Straits Times newspaper said Abdul Halim and Nooriah were handcuffed, taken into custody and held overnight in police cells at separate locations.

The next day, Mr Abdul Halim was allowed to telephone a friend who fetched the marriage certificate and brought it to the police station.

Abdul Halim - a civil servant - said he was taking legal action because he had become frustrated at waiting for an apology from state officials, the newspaper reported.

Correspondents say religious department officers often raid hotel rooms or public parks frequented by lovers in the mainly Muslim country, detaining unmarried couples caught together.

See also:

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