Under a scorching sun on Friday, two ethnic Chinese men became the first Buddhists in Indonesia’s Aceh province to be whipped for violating its strict Islamic code.
The two men, identified only by their initials, A.S. and A.A., received nine and seven lashes, respectively, as punishment for gambling through cockfighting.
But their punishment was considerably lighter than canings meted out in Aceh to three other people on Friday, including an 18-year-old woman. The three received between 94 and 112 lashes of the executioner’s rattan cane for sexual misconduct. A sixth person was also caned on gambling charges.
A.S., a 57-year-old Buddhist man, was whipped nine times on a public stage outside the al-Munawarrah mosque in Jantho, a town in Aceh Besar district.
He glanced a few times at his punisher, a man cloaked in a hood. As soon as the flogging ended, A.S. was taken off the stage to a nearby ambulance to receive medical attention. Later, his fellow Buddhist and co-defendant, A.A., received seven lashes.
As non-Muslims, the two ethnic Chinese said they chose to receive their sentences under Sharia law, and not under Indonesia’s criminal code that could have resulted in incarceration. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that enforces the Islamic code.
The two were caned following their convictions for betting on cockfighting, or gambling, which is an offense under Sharia law. Previously, the law did not stipulate that non-Muslims convicts could be subjected to public caning.
That changed in 2015 when Aceh amended its criminal code to include corporal punishment for non-Muslims under certain circumstances. Any non-Muslims who commit acts considered as crimes under Sharia law in the presence of Muslims could be prosecuted and punished by an Islamic court, particularly if Indonesia’s criminal code did not cover the crime in question, according to the amendments.
A 35-year-old Muslim man identified as M.A. received seven lashes for his conviction on similar gambling charges. He braced himself to be whipped as the executioner aimed the rattan cane to his back.
Sharia Council judges in Jantho had sentenced the three men to 10 lashes, but their sentences were mitigated because they had spent time in police detention since their arrest on Jan. 1. For each month in jail, they received one less lashing.
Full story: BenarNews
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