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Public caning has long been common for offences such as gambling and drinking in Aceh, but Wednesday’s verdict was the first time the punishment has been handed down for gay sex since a Syariah regulation came into force in 2015 banning the practice.”This is barbaric -- this is another low point for Aceh, and also for Indonesia,” said Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Tuesday's caning was the first time such a punishment has been meted out for gay sex since a syariah regulation came into force two years ago banning the practice.
Aceh has long had a reputation as Indonesia's most conservative region.
It is the only province that criminalises same-sex relations and that uses Islamic law as its legal code in addition to the national criminal code.
While rights groups have repeatedly expressed alarm over the strengthening of syariah law in Aceh, many of those living in the staunchly Islamic province support the rules.
Zubaidah, a 20-year-old female college student who watched the couple being punished, said it was the first time she had witnessed a caning.Two Indonesian men, who were later sentenced to 85 lashes of the cane for having sex together, are escorted by police into an Islamic court in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia May 17, 2017. BANDA ACEH: A Syariah court Wednesday sentenced two Indonesian men to be publicly caned for gay sex for the first time in the conservative province of Aceh, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country.