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Indonesia: Aceh Court Sentences Couple to 85 Lashes for Gay Sex

Banda Aceh caning, Indonesia

In an unprecedented case, a court in Indonesia’s only province that enforces Islamic law convicted two gay men on Wednesday for having sexual relations and ordered that they each receive 85 lashes of the cane, despite pleas for leniency.

The defendants, whose full identities were withheld, are expected to be caned in public next week in Aceh province, before the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

“Lighten my punishment,” one of the defendants, identified as 24-year-old M.T., said as he covered his face with both hands after a judge at the Sharia court in the provincial capital Banda Aceh asked if he accepted the sentence.

The judge heading the panel, Khairil Jamal, said the defendant could appeal.

In a separate trial on Wednesday, the other defendant, “M.H.,” received the same verdict and sentencing.

The punishment of 85 lashes for engaging in homosexual sex was harsher than the 80 lashes the prosecution had requested for each man.

Wednesday’s verdicts marked the first cases in which gay people were convicted in Aceh for homosexual sex acts since the province passed strict anti-gay laws in 2014, which came into effect a year later.

While the judges said the defendants could be represented at trial, neither appeared with an attorney in court.

“We’ve been trying to find a lawyer, but no one is willing to be our legal counsel,” M.H., 20, told BenarNews from behind the prison bar after the verdict was announced.

The men’s families were not seen in court on Wednesday.

“He is a quiet and good boy, who performs Salat (Islamic prayers) diligently. Prior coming to Banda Aceh to attend college two years ago, he lived in a pesantren (Islamic boarding school),” the father of one of the men told reporters last week.

Full story: BenarNews

Nurdin Hasan
Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Copyright ©2017, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

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