Indonesia province publicly canes two gay men under Islamic Sharia law News
ZULMAHDI / Pixabay
Indonesia province publicly canes two gay men under Islamic Sharia law

Officials in Indonesia’s Aceh province publicly caned two men Thursday for breaching the Islamic Sharia law by having a same-sex relationship. Four other people were also caned for a variety of offences.

The two men received 77 lashes each. Of the remaining four, two received 40 lashes for alcohol consumption and the other two received 17 lashes for adultery.

Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province has a strict Islamic criminal code (Qanun Jinayat) that criminalizes adultery, homosexuality, gambling, alcohol and public displays of affection outside of a legally recognized relationship. Homosexuality is not illegal anywhere else in majority-Muslim Indonesia, but Aceh was granted the right to practice Sharia law as part of a peace deal with the Indonesian government in 2006 to end a decades-long separatist war.

The criminal law came into force in 2015. Since then, hundreds of people have been publicly caned. Authorities and vigilantes have been known to raid private spaces and houses to target defectors, especially from the highly persecuted LGBT community.

Numerous human rights groups protested against the harsh punishments of Thursday by deeming them as public torture. Human Rights Watch stated: “The Indonesian government has made commitments in principle to protect LGBT people. But it seems President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s slogan of ‘unity in diversity’ does not genuinely extend to protecting everyone – including the two men mercilessly flogged today.”

Whipping is recognized as torture under various international laws and conventions, although the Aceh province continues to use it to target the LGBT community and religious minorities.