Women Whipped With Boyfriend for Being 'Too Close' in Indonesia's Aceh

Published October 29th, 2018 - 12:21 GMT
The young woman clenches her fists in anticipation as the cane is brought down across her back (AFP)
The young woman clenches her fists in anticipation as the cane is brought down across her back (AFP)

The 21-year-old was whipped along with her boyfriend before crowds for being caught in 'close proximity' to each other.

The archaic public humiliation took place today in the city of Banda Aceh where Sharia law is strictly observed and enforced.

People are flogged as many as 200 times for a range of perceived crimes such as gambling, drinking alcohol, gay sex or any non-marital relationship.

The barbaric practice was ramped up in 2001 by the government in Jakarta to bolster their authority as separatists sought to gain power.

The region made a peace deal with the government in 2005 and sharia law was strengthened further.

Men and women are struck with bamboo canes in front of onlookers, many of whom are men in uniform who take their own photographs.


For the crime of being in 'close proximity' to the opposite sex one can expect 10 to 25 lashings with the switch.

More than 90 per cent of the 255 million people who live in Indonesia describe themselves as Muslim, but the vast majority practice a moderate form of the faith.

The brutality is reported to have increased in recent years with a number of incidents of those being punished collapsing in pain on stage.

In 2014, Aceh approved an anti-homosexuality law that can punish anyone caught having gay sex with 100 lashes.

After a three-decade-old separatist movement, a peace agreement signed in 2005 granted special autonomy to Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra, on condition that it remained part of the sprawling archipelago.

As part of that deal, Aceh won the right to be the only Indonesian province to use Islamic sharia law as its legal code.

Anybody caught engaging in consensual gay sex is punished with 100 lashes, 100 months in jail or a fine of 1,000 grams of gold.

The law also set out punishment for sex crimes, unmarried people engaging in displays of affection, people caught found guilty of adultery and underage sex.

Religious police in Aceh have been known to target Muslim women without head scarves or those wearing tight clothes, and people drinking alcohol or gambling.

Over the past decade, the central government has devolved more power to regional authorities to increase autonomy and speed up development.

Engaging in homosexual acts is not a crime under Indonesia's national criminal code but remains taboo in many parts of the country.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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