At the Taman Sari building in the Acehnese provincial capital of Banda Aceh, MU and TA grimaced with pain as two executioners flogged each of them 77 times. The punishment was handed out for the crime of liwath – same sex relations between two men or gay sex.
MU and TA were found guilty of the crime of same sex relations in accordance with Article 63 Paragraph 1 of Aceh Qanun (bylaw) Number 6/2014 on Shariah (Islamic) Law. They were both sentenced to 80 lashes each but this was reduced by three lashes for time served.
The two executioners (algojo) moved to stand on the left side of the building. MU was the first to be flogged. Wearing a mask with his head bent low, MU walked towards the blue carpet laid out in the middle of the building.
Before the flogging took place a health official approached MU to ensure that he was healthy and fit. After being declared healthy and ready, the executioner took a position on the right side of the convict. The executioner then swung the rattan cane for the first lash.
MU's body shook and his faced grimaced as he bore the pain. On the 15th blow, the rattan cane snapped and had to be replaced. The first executioner only administered 39 lashes. After this it was continued by the second executioner until the flogging was complete.
According to Kumparan's observations, MU's punishment proceeded smoothly although on several occasions it had to be stopped because he was unable to stand the pain. Officials then gave him water and the executioner then completed his duty until the final stroke.
TA then underwent the same punishment. Although unlike his partner MU, on several occasions he asked the executioner to stop the blows of the rattan cane against his back.
TA complained more about the pain so officials also had to check his condition several times. Nevertheless, the punishment continued until the flogging was complete.
Banda Aceh chief investigator Zakwan said that MU and TA had been proven guilty of having same sex relations. The homosexual couple were apprehended by local people on November 13 last year.
"The two suspects were proven guilty of committing jarimah [the crime of] liwath. The Shariah Court then handed down an uqubat ta'zir [discretional sentence] against the defendants TA and MU in the form of 80 lashes each minus time in detention", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pasangan Gay di Aceh ini Meringis Kesakitan saat Dicambuk 77 Kali".]