by Leander Milbrecht
All protests, complaints and pleas remained in vain: On Thursday, 28 January 2021, the young couple was publicly whipped. The two men had to endure 77 lashes each with a whip made of solid rattan. And all because they had been in a relationship within their own four walls.
The report by the news service CNN Indonesia makes gruesome reading. You could have seen from the faces of the condemned men that they could not bear the pain of the rattan landing on their backs. The masked Sharia officer who delivered the blows stopped lashing briefly because one of the men had gestured several times that he could not take it any more. Halfway through the lashes, the two were allowed to drink some water.
“During the whipping, medical staff also approached the convicts several times and asked about their health. After confirming that they were healthy and able, the flogging continued.”
Public caning part of the culture?
The mother of one of the convicts reportedly fainted at the sight of her tortured child. But the officials insisted on carrying out the full number of lashes. Speaking to members of the press present, public order official Heru Triwijanarko said, according to the AFP press agency:
“The enforcement of Islamic Sharia law is final, no matter who it is, and even visitors must respect local norms.”
Four other people were flogged on the same day. Two men had to endure 40 lashes each for becoming drunk. A man and a woman who had gotten too close to each other were sentenced to 20 lashes each, according to the BBC.
Dozens of people, including relatives, members of the press and medical staff, were present when the sentence was carried out. However, probably due to the COVID pandemic, nowhere near as many as in similar incidents in previous years.
In 2017, videos of another public flogging of two gay men even showed children laughing in the large crowd of onlookers. Public floggings are traditionally very popular in Indonesia. Overall, this is the third incident of gay men being publicly flogged since the tougher law was introduced in Banda Aceh in 2015, according to the BBC.
- 20200528_212007: By: Dev Asangbam / CC0
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