Gay Couple In Indonesia Face Public Beating Under Sharia Law

Two men found to gays  face being punished with 80 lashes by sharia prosecutors in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

The men, age 20 and 23, were arrested in March after their neighbors in the capital, Banda Aceh, suspected them of homosexual activity and decided to catch them and take whatever evidence they could obtain to authorities.

Cellphone footage was later circulated online showing one of the men naked with his friend in the same room. The footage forms part of the evidence against the pair.

The pair were led into court in handcuffs yesterday where the lead prosecutor, who goes by the name Gulmaini, stated they had “confessed” to being in a gay relationship.

If found guilty, they will be the first to be caned for gay sex under a new sharia code implemented in Aceh two years ago.

The Muslim-majority province is allowed to follow sharia law after a deal with the national government was reached in 2006. Authorities can punish offenders with up to 100 lashes for breaches including gay sex, adultery, gambling, drinking alcohol, or missing Friday prayers. Women who wear tight clothes are also at risk. Public beatings are routine.

On Tuesday the outgoing Jakarta governor, a minority Christian, was sentenced to two years’ prison for blasphemy against the Qur’an.

The sharia court’s panel of judges will announce its verdict against the two men next week.

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