Women wait in queue to be caned in public for unmarried sex in Indonesia

An Acehnese woman convicted of ‘immoral acts’ prepares to be caned in Banda Aceh. (Photo: AFP)
London: Shocking images of young women and men awaiting their turn to be caned by Sharia police in the Aceh province of Indonesia for having unmarried sex have emerged, provoking sharp reaction from human rights activists. According to report in the Daily Mail online, public caning is not uncommon in the province. But it is rare for women to be caned. Three women and 14 men were arrested for various sexual offences and gambling, and were reportedly caned in front of a mosque following the Friday prayer. 
The images show women and men dressed in white and sitting with their heads bowed as they wait their turn to be punished. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia, a Muslim majority country, which has been allowed to practice Islamic Sharia law, in an attempt to quell the separatist insurgency. 

The practice took hold after the region was given special autonomy in 2001. But in the recent years, a lot many more Islamic laws have been introduced in Aceh drawing wide condemnation from the human rights activists. Banda Aceh banned women from entertainment venues after 11pm earlier this year, making it compulsory for their husband or male family member to accompany them. It is also prohibited for unmarried men and women to be riding together on motorbikes in the Aceh district. Earlier in June, three men and women, aged 18 to 23 were caned publicly for having found spending time together.

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Mike Williams

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