Last October 17, an unidentified Muslim woman was caught standing too close to her boyfriend at Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She was accused of breaking the Sharia law. Sharia law is the body of Islamic law. It is the framework of the legal system of Islamic religion in which regulates the public and private aspects of Muslim life. It includes forbidding offenses such as same-sex relationship, gambling, drinking alcohol, intimate contact with unmarried couples and much more that are considered illegal in the Islamic law. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia which observes strict implementation of the Sharia law.
The woman was caned 23 times outside the mosque, in front of a mocking public. People gathered around the mosque to observe the lashing. She was, in fact, one of the thirteen people who was caught breaking the Sharia law. Their age ranges from 21 to 30 years old. Six couples were caught violating the law that forbids intimacy between unmarried couple such as touching, hugging and kissing. One man was caught hanging out with another woman in a private place. They were even accused of adultery. Another lawbreaker was a 22-year-old pregnant woman. She has not flogged right away but was warned that she’ll serve her punishment after she gave birth.
December of last year, a certain Nur Elita, age 20, was whipped outside the Baiturrahumim Mosque, still in Banda Aceh for having sex with her university schoolmate. She screamed in pain as people jeer while watching her. Disturbing pictures of Elita shocked the world and went viral. The man she had sex with, Saputra Wahyudi, 23 years old was also flogged five times with a bamboo cane. Elita received also five lashes while weeping in agony. She broke down in the fifth and was rushed to the hospital.
The deputy mayor of the province said that the caning should be an example and a warning to those who intend to break the Sharia law. He admitted that flogging was brutal, but then it should serve as a lesson to everybody.
Banda Aceh has religious police who receives reports of law offenders.