Aceh, gay couple risks 100 lashes for 'sodomy'
by Mathias Hariyadi

Attacked by a crowd and handed over to the provincial police authorities. The province is governed by Islamic law, which prohibits homosexual relations. If convicted, the two men will be flogged in public.

Banda Aceh (AsiaNews) - A gay couple risks 100 lashes for "illegal sexual orientation". The two men will be tried by a Koranic court within 20 days.

On November 14, a crowd broke into the home of the 26-year-old M.U. and 34-year-old T.A. in Kuta Alam (Aceh), forcefully dragging them to the Public Order Agency of the provincial capital.

Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia, the Islamic law, is in force. Article 63 of the local criminal code (Qanun Jinayat) prohibits homosexual practices, considering them acts of sodomy.

Elsewhere in the rest of the country, same-sex relationships are allowed, except when they involve minors. Human Rights Watch, however, points out that Indonesian authorities often resort to pornography law to persecute the LGBT community.

If convicted, the two people attacked in Kuta Alam will be flogged in public. Alternatively, the Qanun Jinayat provides for the payment of one kilogram of gold or a maximum sentence of about eight years in prison.