April 08, 2010 
Nurdin Hasan

A man arrested for gambling is struck with a cane six times by an executioner 
during a public caning at the compound of a mosque in Aceh Besar in January. An 
official from the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Aceh Barat would find 
himself in the same position after he was caught committing adultery with a 
married woman, despite the fact he has already been severely beaten by enraged 
local villagers. (AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

Rough Justice With Accused Aceh Adulterers Deplored as Un-Islamic

Banda Aceh. A human rights activist on Thursday slammed the humiliating 
punishment meted out to a teacher in Aceh Barat and the married woman he was 
suspected of having an affair with after the pair were marched through a 
village naked, tied to a pole and then brutally beaten. 

"To parade people around naked is not sanctioned in Islam," said Zulfikar 
Muhammad, an activist from a coalition of human rights organizations in the 
staunchly Muslim province. 

"The acts of the villagers who paraded the two through a village clearly 
violates both Islamic Shariah law and human rights. Islam upholds justice and 
the rights of human beings." 

Zulfikar's statement comes after T Abdurrazak, operational commander of Aceh's 
feared Shariah Police, confirmed on Thursday that the teacher, identified as 
Bus, 36, and was reportedly from an Islamic boarding school in Aceh Besar, had 
been caught in the bedroom of Yus, a 28-year-old housewife, in Seuneubok 
village, Meulaboh district, on Wednesday. The case is being dealt with by Aceh 
Barat Police. 

Villagers had suspected for at least a year that the couple were having an 
affair, Abdurrazak said, adding that Yus's husband was seldom at home because 
his job required him to travel out of town extensively. 

He said villagers claimed they had often seen Bus enter through the back door 
of the house at night whenever the husband was out. 

Abdurrazak said the villagers had decided to catch the couple in the act and at 
2 a.m. on Wednesday, they broke down the door and allegedly found the pair in 
the bedroom. Abdurrazak, however, said he did not know whether the couple had 
actually been caught in in the act of committing adultery. 

"Even though the Shariah Police has every right to investigate this violation, 
we do not have investigators as yet," he said. "We are therefore working in 
collaboration with local Aceh Barat Police to process the case." 

According to a local Shariah regulation, adulterers face a maximum punishment 
of being publicly caned nine times. 

"If the Qanun Jinayat had been signed by Aceh's governor, the couple could have 
faced stoning to death," Abdurrazak added, referring to the controversial set 
of local bylaws passed in September by the province's legislative council to 
replace parts of the Criminal Code. Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf refused to sign 
off on the new code citing humanitarian grounds. 

Abdurrazak said the pair were marched naked through the village and then both 
tied to a pole and beaten. After the police arrived to rescue the couple, they 
were rushed to the Cut Nyak Dhien General Hospital in the district capital of 
Meulaboh for emergency treatment, he added.

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