Woman, man caned for affair outside marriage

Banda Aceh: A woman and a man were publicly caned in the Indonesian province of Aceh on Thursday for having an extramarital affair.

An “algojo” meted out the punishment on a stage in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh as crowd gathered and watched on in horror, with some taking photos.

The couple were each sentenced to 28 lashes, but had four of them suspended as they had already been held in jail for four months, Efe news reported.

Pictures showed the woman knelt on the platform looking solemn in a white dress as her punisher, dressed in a black robe with just his eyes exposed, taunted her with a long stick before caning her with it.

Indonesia is notorious for its public displays of brutality, along with other nations such as Malaysia, which has sparked outrage by human rights groups.

Aceh, where public caning was introduced in 2005, is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia that is governed by the strict Sharia law, a concession granted by the central government in 2001 as part of a peace deal to end a long-running insurgency.

It is the only province in Indonesia that has implemented Sharia law and considers lesbian, gay, bisexual relationships and sex outside of marriage as law violations.

Others have been caned for adultery, gambling, and drinking or selling alcohol.

Amnesty International said the caning marked “an appalling day” for human rights in Malaysia.

NGO Human Rights Watch in 2017 warned Indonesia that “flogging as punishment was also recognized under international law as a form of torture,” and that “hiding abuses was not the same as ending them, and that the moral outrage over public floggings was not a one-time reaction”.