Two Men Accused of Gambling Receive Public Whipping in Indonesia

Published October 21st, 2019 - 09:30 GMT
A member of the Sharia police can be seen standing ahead of the public caning in Banda Aceh on October 21, 2019 (AFP/dailymail.co.uk)
A member of the Sharia police can be seen standing ahead of the public caning in Banda Aceh on October 21, 2019 (AFP/dailymail.co.uk)
Highlights
Members of the public can be seen in the background looking on, many of them taking pictures and filming videos of the men's public whipping. 

Two men accused of gambling are the latest to receive a public whipping in the capital of Indonesia's Aceh, where people are commonly flogged for a range of offences including drinking alcohol, sex before marriage and homosexuality.

In new images taken today, in Banda Aceh, the latest men to be flogged can be seen dressed in white robes as they are caned with a thin bamboo rod. 

Members of the public can be seen in the background looking on, many of them taking pictures and filming videos of the men's public whipping. 

One man, who looks to be in his early fifties, stands, hands clasped with his gaze fixed resolutely in front of him, as a member of the Sharia Police hits him firmly in the back.

The other, who appears to be around the same age looks to the ground as the caner dressed in a hooded red garment his him several times. 

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The only sign of pain the man gives is a soft grimace each time the cane hits his clothed back. 

There are few other details surrounding the circumstances that led to the whipping of these two men. 

But such displays are relatively common in the conservative region of Sumatra island. 

Under Sharia law, people are often caned for a range of offences, including gambling, having a homosexual relationship, sale and consumption of alcohol, and sex outside of marriage - despite much international criticism.

The Islamic penal code, which stems from interpretations of the Koran, Islam's religious text, is widely used in the Aceh region as its principal legal code - the only one in Indonesia to do so.   

The province of Banda Aceh began widespread implementation of Sharia law after being granted autonomy in 2001 – in an attempt by the government in Jakarta to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

This gained strength in 2005 when to quell a three-decade-old separatist movement the region was granted the right to use sharia law as its legal code - on the condition it remained a part of the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. 

Usman Hamid, the executive director of Amnesty Indonesia, told Al Jazeera, while Sharia law formed the region's criminal code how it was implemented could be considered a breach in humanitarian law.

'In actuality, the many provisions of the law [are] a breach of international human rights law and standards.' 

He said caning in public was in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment to which Indonesia is a state party.

He said the caning was more than just a light tap on the back - and could be quite severe.

Earlier this year, there were concerns such public punishments would become more widespread, as Indonesia looked set to pass a new law that could have seen Sharia Law more widely implemented across the nation's many regions. 

The law, if passed, would also have seen sex outside of marriage, abortion and insults on the president's dignity outlawed. 

Those who engaged in extramarital sex faced punishment of up to one year in jail, under the proposed law changes.

The shift came amidst a recent trend towards deeper religious piety and conservative Islamic activism in the South-East Asian nation. 

However, after a public and global outcry, he Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a further review of the bill before it was passed into law.  

This article has been adapted from its original source.    


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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