Aceh has a special legal status allowing it to insert Sharia bylaws into the criminal code.
In the province, ordinances criminalising drinking alcohol, sex outside of marriage and gay sex can be enforced against Muslims and non-Muslims.
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The public caning took place outside a mosque in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.
Hundreds of people turned up to watch the punishments being meted out to the two men and other Indonesians convicted of different offences.
It’s the first time in the modern history of South East Asia to have caning for gay sex."Josef Benedict, the Amnesty International deputy director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, called on the international community to pressure Indonesia over its treatment of LGBT people "before the situation deteriorates further"."This sickening spectacle, carried out in front of more than a thousand jeering spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty," Benedict said."Flogging sentences and the criminalisation of same-sex relations are both flagrant violations of international human rights law." The caning comes as activists fear that rising anti-LGBT sentiment across Indonesia will spur on anti-LGBT violence and efforts for nationwide criminalisation.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — Two men in Indonesia’s Aceh province were publicly caned dozens of times Tuesday for consensual gay sex, a punishment that intensifies an anti-gay backlash in the world’s most populous Muslim country and which rights advocates denounced as “medieval torture.” More than a thousand people packed the courtyard of a mosque to witness the caning, which was the first time that Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to practice Shariah law, has caned people for homosexuality.
Sarojini Mutia Irfan, a female university student who witnessed the caning, said it was a necessary deterrent.
“What they have done is like a virus that can harm people’s morale,” she said.
The men were sentenced to 85 lashes each last week.
According to Human Rights Watch, they received 83 lashes on Tuesday, with two subtracted for the two months they spent in detention.
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