Two gay men who were caught having sex by a vigilante mob will be caned 80 times for breaking Sharia law in a strict Indonesian province.
The pair, both in their early 20s, were found in bed together by a group of thugs who raided a boarding house in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh in late March.
Police later arrested the distressed couple, who said they were in a relationship and had had sex three times.
Prosecutor Gulmaini Wardani said they should receive 80 strokes of the cane for having homosexual s3x – the first such punishment of a gay couple in the conservative province.
Wardani was speaking to journalists after a hearing at a special sharia court in Banda Aceh.
The hearing was closed to the public and the men’s identities were not revealed due to the sensitivity of the case.
The father of one of the defendants, who requested anonymity, said he did not know his son was gay before he was caught.
‘This is an ordeal for our family,’ he said. ‘After this problem is resolved, we will send him to an Islamic boarding school to be educated so he won’t be deviant any more.
They were beaten and then taken to Wilayatul Hisbah, a Sharia police facility, after their arrest on March 28.
A sentence recommendation is a usual step in an Indonesian court case and is typically followed soon afterwards by a verdict. Judges do not have to follow the recommendation but often do.
Aceh is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country which implements Sharia law.
Under a local law that came into force in 2015, people can also be punished for having gay s3x with up to 100 strokes of the cane.
Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of Indonesia, which mainly follows a criminal code inherited from former colonial ruler the Netherlands.
Authorities in the province on the northern tip of Sumatra island caned 339 people in 2016 for a range of crimes, according to HRW.
The Indonesian government has yet to respond to a letter from the United Nations, written in April last year, expressing concerns about the abuse of LGBT people in Aceh.