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Woman harassed by vigilantes for alleged theft in Aceh

Jakarta Post - June 18, 2020

Jakarta – A video showing a woman being harassed by men after she was allegedly caught stealing at Ulee Gle market in Bandar Dua district, Pidie Jaya regency, Aceh, went viral on Wednesday.

The video, first uploaded by Facebook user Cici Unae, showed dozens of men crowding around and shouting at a middle-aged woman. Some forcibly removed her hijab, while others held her arms down and cut her hair with a kitchen knife. The woman was crying.

Other men were seen standing around the crowd and recording the incident with their mobile phones.

The video was posted on Twitter by user @kondekturbus_ on Wednesday. It had been retweeted more than 650 times as of noon on Thursday. "I hope there will be justice for the woman," the user captioned the video.

The police later identified the woman as YL from Medan, North Sumatra. They said she was caught stealing a bag filled with cash at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday while pretending to buy groceries from a market stall.

"She took the bag when the seller was off guard. She targeted bags and mobile phones," Bandar Dua Police chief First Insp. Faisal said, as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that the woman was with a 4-year-old whose identity was unknown. Faisal confirmed the mob vigilantism, which took place before the police arrived at the location.

YL testified to the police that she was part of a group of thieves operating in Pidie Jaya and that two men had brought her to the market earlier. "We have detained the woman at the police station and are pursuing the two men," said Faisal.

The police managed to seize Rp 5 million (US$355) in cash as evidence, as well as other foreign banknotes including euro, Malaysian ringgit, Saudi riyal and Thai baht. In addition, the police secured eight mobile phones and a car.

Some social media users condemned the mob harassment of YL and urged the police to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice.

"I regret ever watching the video on my Twitter timeline, seeing these men hurting humanity," Twitter user @gshat tweeted.

"I am sure these people have done terrible things too, although no one has caught them yet. They tortured others as if they were saints," user @bintangbete wrote. (trn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/18/woman-harassed-by-vigilantes-for-alleged-theft-in-aceh.html