Two men in Indonesia’s Aceh province have been publicly caned 77 times after neighbours caught and reported them having sex in their home.
Dozens of people watched on as authorities whipped the men across the back at Banda Aceh’s Tamansari city park this week.
The two men, aged 27 and 29, resided at a boarding house in the conservative province.
Last November, their neighbours caught the two men together after the property’s owner noticed one had male guests to his room, local media reported.
Safriadi, the head of the Aceh province’s Islamic police force, said the owner asked the residents to conduct the November 12 raid.
The mob of men caught the pair together and dragged them outside before notifying police.
Safriadi said the men later admitted to police to having sex. The police chief also suggested officers were investigating others the men contacted on social media.
Aceh is the only province of Indonesia to ban homosexuality, implemented strict Islamic Sharia law in 2015.
In December, Aceh’s Islamic court sentenced each of the men to the caning, after more than two months in prison.
Masked Shariah officers then carried out the cruel punishment this week.
Next time our politicians laud Indonesia for its tolerance, remind them that on January 28, 2021 two gay men were flogged 77 times for their same sex relationship. This is public torture. @MarisePayne @SenatorWong @dfat @ScottMorrisonMP @AlboMP https://t.co/jnfUZpkoyR pic.twitter.com/I7bf8CrqTl
— Elaine Pearson (@PearsonElaine) January 29, 2021
Human rights groups slam Indonesia’s Aceh province for caning ‘torture’
In Aceh, public caning is one punishment for such offences under laws banning gay sex, sex out of wedlock, gambling, and drinking alcohol.
In 2017, police charged two men, aged 20 and 23, for having gay sex. Neighbours forced their way into the men’s home and discovered them in bed together.
The two men were later caned 83 times in front of a crowd of hundreds in Aceh.
A year later, two more men convicted of having gay sex were publicly caned 87 times.
Both punishments caused outrage overseas and Human Rights Watch have called for an end to vigilante raids and for Indonesia president Jokowi Widodo to ban the “torture” of caning.
“Jokowi [must] demonstrate that his support of equal rights for all is not empty rhetoric,” the group said.
“He needs to start by protecting these [two gay men] from torture.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in the rest of Indonesia, through anti-LGBTIQ prejudice is common.
However in recent years leaders have increasingly targeted the country’s LGBTIQ community with homophobic rhetoric and police raids.
Human rights groups warn police across Indonesia use the country’s vaguely-worded anti-pornography laws to target the LGBTIQ community.
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