01/31/2019, 17.56
INDONESIA
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Teenagers flogged in public for cuddling

The two kids were whipped 17 times. About 98 per cent of Aceh’s five million residents are Muslims. Sharia has been enforced since 2005 following a peace agreement. Although a new regulation bans public flogging, the practice remains widespread.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two teenagers were publicly whipped in Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh province, after they were convicted of cuddling in public. Under Sharia or Islamic law, the aforementioned practice is banned.

Aceh is located at the northern-most tip of Sumatra Island and is the only Indonesian province to apply Islamic law. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Flogging is used to punish a range of offences, including gambling, drinking alcohol, and relations outside of marriage.

After spending a few months in prison, the two 18-year-olds were whipped 17 times each in front of hundreds of enthusiastic spectators.

About 98 people of Aceh’s five million residents are Muslims. Sharia was introduced in 2005 following a peace agreement between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), an Islamic separatist group.

If arrested in the province, non-Muslims can usually choose to be punished in accordance with Islamic law (including flogging) to avoid lengthy legal proceedings and long sentences.

In April 2018, Aceh authorities adopted a regulation whereby offenders must be whipped only within a prison.

"This (law) is to muffle protest... to muffle Islamophobia," said Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf. "We don't want Islamophobia to interfere with (Indonesia's) foreign affairs".

However, local authorities continue to flog people in public, as in the case of the two teenagers.

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