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Gay men caned 77 times in 'medieval' punishment in Indonesian province

The Guardian - January 29, 2021

Two gay men in Indonesia's Aceh province have been publicly caned 77 times each after they were reported to police by vigilantes who raided their apartment.

Human rights groups have condemned the spectacle, which was watched by dozens of people in the capital Banda Aceh, as brutal and medieval.

It was the third time that authorities have caned people for being gay in Aceh province, which was given the authority to implement sharia law in 2001 as part of an autonomy deal with central government.

The men, aged 27 and 29, were arrested in November after a crowd of local residents broke into their room and allegedly found them having sex. They were sentenced to 80 strokes by a Shariah court last month, but were flogged 77 times because they had spent time in prison.

The men winced in pain and pleaded for the punishment to stop as they were beaten with a rattan stick on Thursday. The mother of one man fainted as she watched, the news agency AFP reported.

Four other people received 17 strokes for extra-marital relations and 40 strokes for drinking alcohol. People caught gambling, or women who wear tight clothes can also be punished by caning.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Right Watch's Asia division, said Aceh's authorities were guilty of torture. "[The authorities] must be universally condemned for this brutal, absolutely medieval punishment for an act that should never have been criminalized in the first place," he said.

Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, has failed to stop such abuse, he added.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, same-sex relationships are not illegal, though LGBT communities have faced worsening discriminaton over recent years, and are increasingly targeted by police under a pornography law that campaigners say is discriminatory.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/29/gay-men-caned-77-times-in-medieval-punishment-in-indonesian-provinc