Aceh province is the only part of Indonesia where punishments are handed down under Sharia. Public punishment sends a clear message and act as a deterrent for those who break the law in the future. Not only is this an extreme practice of punishment it is viewed as barbaric for most of the world.
These pictures show a woman being caned in front of delighted spectators as a punishment for having sex outside wedlock in Indonesia.
The terrified woman was seen kneeling on a stage, while an official holding a cane prepared to flog her and a crowd gathered to witness the Sharia law flogging. The humiliating punishment was carried out in the country’s arch-conservative Aceh province, the only one which observes Sharia criminal law.
The woman kept her head down as she was escorted by two other women and prepared to face the punishment for having sex outside wedlock. Many of the spectators close to the stage held up their mobile phones, apparently taking pictures or video footage of the act.
In another picture a man was seen grimacing near the executioner, wearing similar white clothes to the woman, but it is unclear if he too was being punished.
Flogging is common for a range of offenses in the region at the tip of Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol and having gay sex. Aceh adopted sharia after it was granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.
Rights groups slam 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 mostly Muslim population – around 98 per cent of its five million residents practice Islam.
A 100-stroke punishment is reserved for the most severe crimes and offenders may also be sentenced to prison time.
In 2018, Aceh said that flogging would be carried out behind prison walls in future, but some local governments have continued public whippings. Last year a village in the province banned WiFi after children were caught viewing porn sites instead of going to Koran study class.
The same district made headlines last year when it banned men and women from dining together unless they were married or related.