Sharia court sentences 2 Indonesian men to public caning

On May 17, two Indonesian men who had been caught having sex were sentenced to 85 lashes of the cane under a strict form of sharia law.



BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA – Despite the growing uproar from international and local human rights groups, an Islamic court in the conservative Indonesian province of Aceh has sentenced two men to 85 lashes each in a public caning ceremony.

Aceh is the only province that upholds Sharia law alongside Indonesia’s standard criminal code. In accordance to its Islamic criminal code, the province enforces some provisions to criminalise same-sex relations, regardless of the consensuality between partners.

The two sentenced men have been caught by vigilantes who had secretly filmed them in bed and reported them to the religious police. Several human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have called upon the Indonesian government to show leniency and release the two men.

“The verdict will increase fear among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people, not only in Aceh but also in many other, especially conservative provinces… in Indonesia,”

– Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono

In 2014, the province of Aceh introduced a law that penalises individuals caught participating in consensual same-sex sexual relations. Those that violate the new law may be sentenced to punishments ranging from 100 lashes of the cane, 100 months in jail, or a fine of 1,000g of gold.

According to Human Rights Watch, the two men will be the very first Indonesians to receive public caning for homosexuality.

Last year, authorities in Aceh were reported to have caned 339 people for “moral indecency” as interpreted by the province’s version of Sharia law.

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