Two Christian men were publicly flogged today in Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province for drinking alcohol and gambling, in a rare case of non-Muslims facing a punishment frequently condemned by rights groups.
The two accused received 40 lashes each from a masked sharia officer who beat their backs with a stick.
According to Daily Mail, one of them, identified only as JF, said he chose flogging to avoid a criminal prosecution that could have seen him jailed up to six months.
The public canings sometimes attract large crowds of eager spectators taking pictures on their phones, but today’s punishments were handed out indoors with only a small circle of observers
Officials said earlier this year that the floggings had been moved indoors and shorn of the usual opening speeches because of the virus pandemic. The cane-wielding enforcer typically wears a hood in any event.
Aceh adopted sharia after it was granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.
Human rights groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for it to end.