Indonesia’s Aceh whips 2 men, women for breaking shariah law

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has also called for an end to shariah law in Aceh, but is met with opposition by its population that supports the law. (Reuters)

LHOKSEUMAWE:Three people were publicly whipped 100 times each in Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province on Wednesday, with one woman pleading for the masked shariah officer to stop because she could not bear the pain.

Dozens of people watched as the two men and one woman were canned in a stadium in Lhokseumawe, some 274km from the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

Flogging is used as punishment for a range of offences in the region at the tip of Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol, and having gay sex or relations outside of marriage.

On Wednesday, a 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend, who is also 22, received 100 strokes each after they were caught having pre-marital sex.

The woman broke down several times due to the pain of the punishment, forcing the shariah officer to stop the canning until she was cleared to continue by a doctor.

A 19-year-old boy was also whipped with a rattan cane for having sex with a minor.

His white shirt was soaked with blood by the end of the thrashing, an AFP reporter said.

The teen will now serve five years in prison, while the couple will walk free.

Fakhrillah, an official from the local prosecutor’s office, said the flogging was held inside a stadium to prevent children from watching.

Aceh is the only province in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country that imposes Islamic law.

In December, two men caught having sex with underage girls were whipped 100 times each in Aceh.

Rights groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has called for it to end, but the practice has wide support among Aceh’s population.