09/18/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Aceh, the provincial government against parliament. No to death penalty for adulterers

The local executive fails to sign the rule based on Islamic law, until they “set the criteria for its application”. The parliament of the autonomous province passed a law which provides for stoning for adulterers and harsh corporal punishment for conduct contrary to Shariah. Concern and criticism of the central government and members of civil society, threats from the ulema.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The provincial government of Aceh did not sign the law, ordered by parliament, which provides for stoning adulterers according to the dictates of Shariah. Hamid Zein, head of the government’s legal office, said that "the Administration strongly rejectes the legislation passed by parliament” on 14 September.

" As long as the executive and legislative bodies do not settle differences in the application of [capital punishment by] stoning - the provincial official told the Jakarta Post  - the Aceh government will not sign the bylaw "

In recent days, the parliament of Aceh - an Indonesian province which enjoys partial autonomy from the central legislature - voted to introduce a rule that allows "stoning for adultery" and "harsh corporal punishment" for behaviour contrary to Islamic "law" and "morals", among them homosexuality, punishable by imprisonment, sexual violence, alcohol and gambling.

The application of norms based on Shariah has already raised criticisms and concerns in the country. Mardiyanto, Minister for the Interior, has announced an appeal to the Indonesian Supreme Court, explaining that the law is "harmful" to the people of Aceh and would "frighten" tourists and investors, it also would not respect the national constitution. The position taken by the minister is significant because for the first time the central government will intervene in "internal"  affairs of the parliament and the provincial administration.

The reaction of the National Commission against Violence on Women is far harsher. It is calling  for a "revision" of the national law that grants the government of Aceh the opportunity to introduce legislation based on Shariah law, a fact that violates basic "human rights".

 Irwandi Yusuf, the provincial governor, prefers to keep a low profile and not take a position on the matter. "For the moment - he explains – it would be better not to say anything".  Previously, Muhammad Nazar, supported by other members of Aceh parliament, said that the government should promote punishment with a "more educational" purpose than stoning.
 
Contrary the opinion of local ulema, who consider it the executive’s "duty" to sign the law. "If the government does not sign it - threatens Faisal Ali, secretary general of the Ulema of Aceh (Huda) - there could be a strong reaction in the opposite direction".
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