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Estonian soldier may take cane over prison

80 lashes can’t be easy.

A United Arab Emirates court recently found Estonian Senior Sergeant Major Andrei Korol guilty of alcohol consumption and harassment, and then sentenced him to four months in prison. Through his lawyer, the sergeant major requested the court consider alternative punishment. The court’s idea: 80 strokes with a cane.

The forty-one year-old Korol, who worked as an armored vehicle technician in Kabul for eight months, was arrested on February 23rd when his unit returned from a mission to Afghanistan. The unit made a stopover at Sharjah airport, where the men bought alcohol from the airport’s transit zone shop and drank it. Consuming alcohol is forbidden under Islamic law. The problem emerged when Korol wandered into the airport and entered the office of a female police officer, an Egyptian. Later the woman accused Korol of harassment, which Korol denies.

It is not yet clear whether the court will carry out the corporal punishment. Also, Estonian press reports have not been clear as to whether Korol chose the punishment, and whether the punishment will be administered with a cane or a whip. Spokesmen could not evaluate how serious such a flogging could be. Other sources say the cane is often applied with the entire force of a martial arts expert's body, causes intolerable pain, bleeding, and leaves lifelong scars.