Aceh flogs 13 young people for breaking its strict Islamic laws 
Six couples who broke sharia laws on intimacy among those punished as floggings 
in Indonesian province become more frequent

A woman is caned 23 times after being caught in close proximity with her 
boyfriend in Banda Aceh. Photograph: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images  

Agence France-Presse in Banda Aceh

Monday 17 October 2016 15.15 BST Last modified on Monday 17 October 2016 15.28 

A young woman screamed in pain as she was caned in front of a jeering crowd in 
Aceh, Indonesia, the latest person to be punished after being found guilty of 
breaking the province’s strict Islamic laws.

Aceh is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country 
that imposes sharia law. People face floggings for a range of offences – from 
gambling to drinking alcohol and gay sex.

The woman was among 13 people – seven men and six women aged between 21 and 30 
– who were caned at a mosque in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, as a baying 
crowd cheered the spectacle.

Six couples were found guilty of breaking Islamic laws on intimacy, such as 
touching, hugging and kissing, between unmarried people.

A man was caned for a less serious offence described as spending time with a 
member of the opposite sex in a hidden location in a fashion that could lead to 

One 22-year-old woman was granted a temporary reprieve as she was pregnant. But 
Aceh’s deputy mayor, Zainal Arifin, said: “The punishment will be handed down 
after she gives birth.”

He added that he hoped the canings would serve as a deterrent: “We hope there 
are no more people in Banda Aceh who break the law in future.”

More and more people are being caned in Aceh. The number of women being flogged 
has particularly increased in recent times.

The province, on Sumatra island, began implementing sharia law after being 
granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the government in Jakarta to 
quell a long-running separatist insurgency. 

Islamic laws have been strengthened since Aceh struck a peace deal with Jakarta 
in 2005.

More than 90% of Indonesians describe themselves as Muslim, but the vast 
majority practise a moderate form of the faith.

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