Jakarta – The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the Aceh administration's plan to sentence two men to public caning for engaging in same-sex relations. They will be subject to 85 lashes.
The group also asked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who has spoken out in support of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Indonesia, to use his authority to cancel the public caning scheduled for May 23.
HRW Asia deputy director Phelim Kine wrote on the organization's website that it was a crucial moment for the President to act to defend the LGBT community's rights by thwarting the plan.
"Jokowi needs to be clear to Aceh's authorities that flogging is torture for which they will be held accountable for," Kine wrote.
The case emerged on March 28 when unidentified men forcibly entered an apartment in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, and took two men in their 20s into police custody for allegedly engaging in same-sex relations. A sharia court convicted them of sodomy on May 17.
This is the first time the sharia courts have sentenced people to caning for engaging in same-sex relations. (hol/wit)