Two men in in the staunchly Islamic province of Aceh in Indonesia were subjected to public caning as crowds lustily cheered and heaped insults.
Aceh province had enacted a strict Islamic criminal code in 2014 criminalising drinking alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, and public displays of affection outside of a legally recognised relationship. These acts are punishable by up to 100 strokes of the cane. Caning is usually carried out in public in the presence of hundreds of people.
The province operates a Shariah police distinct from the regular police force and is entrusted with task of monitoring whether Islamic rules are being followed.
Earlier last week, the Islamic Shariah court had sentenced these two men, aged 20 and 23, to 85 strokes each in a public caning for having sex with each other.
The lead judge, Khairil Jamal pronounced that these two men were "legally and convincingly proven to have committed gay sex."
As of now Aceh is the only province in Indonesia — a nation that practices semblance of religious tolerance despite being home to largest Islamic population in the world — where implementation of sharia is officially authorised.
Shariah regime in Aceh has widespread popular approval. According to Felix Heiduk, an Indonesia expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) "Aceh has always been known as Mecca's front verandah. The region was Islam's gateway to Southeast Asia, and it's always been the most conservative area in Indonesia."
A couple of weeks back the Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian , was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in prison.
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