Asia

Published on April 22nd, 2017 | by Nicole Hoerold

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Two Men Face Caning for Gay Sex in Indonesia

By: Nicole Hoerold
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

Human Rights watch has called on the Indonesian government to immediately and unconditionally release two men detained in Aceh province under a local ordinance that criminalizes homosexuality. On March 28, 2017, unidentified vigilantes forcibly entered a home and brought two men therein to the police on allegations of homosexual relations. The two men have been detained under Islamic Sharia law in Banda Aceh, the capital of the province.

A Sharia law official whips a man convicted of adultery with a cane in Banda Aceh, Indonesia in March 2017. Photo courtesy of AP.

The chief investigator at the facility indicated that both men have confessed to being gay and have been detained for sentencing. Under Islamic Criminal Code, the two men face up to 100 lashes for their behavior. This form of punishment constitutes torture under international human rights law.

Aceh’s Sharia law has been vehemently enforced, and the province’s police have previously detained lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual people. In October 2015, Sharia police arrested two teenage girls on suspicion of being lesbians for embracing in public. Aceh’s parliament has gradually adopted stringent Sharia-inspired ordinances that criminalize activity like a woman’s failure to wear a hijab, gambling, alcohol, and extramarital sexual relations, all of which can be legally enforced against non-Muslims.

Aceh is the only one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces that may adopt bylaws derived from Sharia law. Under Indonesian federal law, the national home affairs minister has the authority to review and repeal such local bylaws. However, in June 2016, the Minister backtracked on his announced commitment to abolish any forms of Sharia law in the county.

Though international media and human rights organizations are speaking out against the government on this issue, Indonesian officials have yet to act on the matter.

For more information, please see:

Human Rights Watch – Indonesia: Release Gay Men at Risk of Torture – 9 April, 2017

ABC News – 2 men in Indonesia’s Aceh province face caning for gay sex – 8 April, 2017

The Guardian – Indonesia: gay men facing 100 lashes for having sex – 11 April, 2017

Deutsche Welle – Two men may get 100 lashes after gay sex in Indonesia – 8 April, 2017 

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