While modern laws exist in Indonesia, cultural traditions still play a huge part in the lives of people in many parts of the country, including for punishing immorality.
A video taken in Palu, Central Sulawesi has gone viral recently, showing the area's uniquely traditional punishment method for adulterers. The video showed locals gathering at a beach on Monday to witness two alleged adulterers being walked out to sea until the water was about knee-deep, before they were told to sit in the water for a "cleansing" rite.
According to media reports, the rite lasted for about an hour. The alleged adulterers were then fined some millions of rupiah before they were banished from their village for good.
While this very public act of shaming is not legally mandated by law in the region, the media also reported that the cleansing rite was attended by local government officials, religious figures, as well as police chiefs, suggesting that it is commonly accepted among locals.
This is despite the fact that adultery can be punishable by up to nine months imprisonment under the country's Criminal Code (KUHP), but only if the cheating party is reported to the authorities by their spouse.
"Throughout the activity, the situation was safe and controlled. The two (alleged adulterers) were caught in mid-November," said West Palu Police Chief Sudirman, who was in attendance, as quoted by Tribun.
Public shaming for adulterers and people getting intimate out of wedlock is unfortunately common in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. Last month, a man and his fiance were stripped naked and paraded on the streets in Tangerang after locals, including a neighborhood chief, wrongly accused them of committing an "immoral act" at the woman's home.
[The original title of this article was "Alleged adulterers from Sulawesi bathed in sea for 'cleansing', fined and banished from village".]