Indonesian men caned for gay sex

Source:AFP Published: 2017/5/23 21:58:39

Punishment comes as hostility toward homosexuals rises


An Indonesian man (center), one of two to be publicly caned for having sex, is caned in Banda Aceh on Tuesday. The pair, aged 20 and 23, were found guilty of having broken sharia rules in conservative Aceh province - the only part of Indonesia that implements Islamic law - and sentenced to 85 strokes of the cane each. Photo: AFP

Two Indonesian men were caned Tuesday in front of a jeering crowd as a punishment for gay sex, in a first for the Muslim-majority country where there is mounting hostility towards the small LGBT community.

The pair received 83 strokes of the cane each after being found guilty of breaking sharia rules in conservative Aceh province, the only part of Indonesia that implements Islamic law.

The men, aged 20 and 23, were led onto a raised stage outside a mosque in front of a crowd of thousands, who jeered and booed loudly.

The pair, whose identities have not been revealed, were dressed in white robes and bowed their heads as they were whipped by officials wearing brown cloaks and masks with eye slits.

One of the men grimaced occasionally and the other showed little emotion.

Before the caning, Abdul Gani Isa, a member of the Acehnese clerics' council, told the crowd the caning was "a lesson for the public."

"Lessons carried out with our sharia law are conducted in a very thoughtful way, are educational and do not violate human rights," he said.

Their sentences, which were carried out in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, were reduced by two strokes of the cane due to time already served in detention.

The gay men were caught together in March by vigilantes who burst into the house where they were staying.

Shaky phone footage of the raid that circulated online showed the vigilantes kicking, slapping and insulting the men, with one of them slumped naked on the ground during the attack.

Public caning has long been common for offences such as gambling and drinking in Aceh, which was given the right to implement sharia law in 2001 as part of a deal with the central government aimed at ending an insurgency.

The punishment is carried out with thin rattan canes, with people still clothed while the strokes are delivered. It causes pain but does not normally inflict permanent damage, and the canings are as much about public humiliation as hurting those guilty of breaking sharia law.



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