BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA — Engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage? For four unlucky people In Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province, the crime earned them each a caning.
Local media is carrying a story about one of the four, a young woman named Linda Darmawati, who was accused and convicted of having a sexual relationship out of wedlock — an offence in Aceh, where certain crimes are subject to the province’s Islamic sharia legal code.
Linda and her lover were both arrested and ultimately sentenced to 26 strikes of the cane. The pair and another couple were hauled out and publicly flogged in front of a mosque in the capital, Banda Aceh.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch reports the Aceh government has expanded the reach of sharia law since 2015. It says 339 people were subjected to corporal punishment in 2016 alone.
Indonesia’s own Institute for Criminal Justice Reform has urged the government to abolish the practice it condemns as abusive. Public canings in Aceh have drawn international media coverage but, the institute’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears in the Aceh government.
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