"Violators of Shariah Law Caned" Jakarta Globe (thanks to Ken)
Banda Aceh. Ten people, including one woman, were caned in Meulaboh, West Aceh, on Wednesday for violating Shariah law with offenses including gambling and adultery.
The caning procession was held at the yard of the Grand Baitul Makmur Mosque in Meulaboh and witnessed by thousands of residents as well as the Meulaboh district head, regional legislative council members and ulemas.
Jhon Aswir, head of the West Aceh Public Order Agency and Shariah Police (Satpol PP and WH), said that some convicts were guilty of gambling ( maisir ) while an unmarried couple was punished for being together in a quiet place ( khalwat ) — an offense that amounts to adultery.
“They are convicts in the cases of maisir and khalwat, which had been processed since 2009,” Jhon said by telephone.
He attributed the late implementation of the punishment to several obstacles such as the lack of funding to hold the caning procession.
Jhon said that the caning was part of the West Aceh administration’s commitment to uphold Shariah law in Aceh.
Muhammad Azim, one of the officials from the West Aceh Shariah Law Agency who was directly involved in the caning procession, said that three of the convicts fainted after they were caned.
“They collapsed and fainted, including the woman,” he said.
He said that the couple that committed khalwat were caned nine times each, the maximum punishment for that crime.
“The couple that committed khalwat received the maximum punishment because they committed adultery when they were both already married. They were caught having an affair, they were processed by the judges and were declared guilty by the Meulaboh Shariah Court,” Azim said.
Eight other people were sentenced to caning six, seven and eight times for gambling. The crime is punishable by caning between six and 12 times.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that has implemented Shariah law, which includes caning, since 2001.
Human rights activists condemned the implementation of Shariah law. They also claim that government officials caught violating the law are never punished.
A 16-year-old girl committed suicide in September after the Aceh Shariah police wrongly arrested her while she attended a music concert and accused her of committing prostitution. She was never punished because she was released on bail.