Brutal Caning Under Sharia Law In Indonesia

Wolff Bachner

View with discretion | Indonesia is home to the world's largest population of self-described faithful Muslims. More than 200 million citizens of the Asian nation embrace Islam. Indonesian Muslims have long been thought of as "moderate Muslims" and the nation is extremely proud of its inclusive, secular nature. Officially, Indonesia is not an Islamic State, but since the start of the 21st century, areas of the country are much less tolerant of other religions. Aceh Province has imposed Sharia Law on its citizens since 2001 and they utilize corporal punishment on a regular basis. This practice, which includes public caning of both sexes, finally came to the attention of the world when word spread about the brutal caning of 10 citizens in Meulaboh, West Aceh, on Wednesday for violating Shariah law with offenses including gambling and adultery.

Jhon Aswir, head of the West Aceh Public Order Agency and Shariah Police, spoke about the punishments:

"They are convicts in the cases of maisir (gambling) and khalwat (adultery), which had been processed since 2009. The caning was part of the West Aceh administration's commitment to uphold Shariah law in Aceh."
"They collapsed and fainted, including the woman."

Indonesia's leading newspaper, The Jakarta Globe, described the public caning, which is called a "Caning Procession:"

"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 (Muslim legal scholars)."
"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."