This Indonesian Province Publicly Caned Two Men for Having Gay Sex

Homosexuality is currently outlawed in the province of Aceh, which follows strict Islamic Sharia law.

Yes, you read that right: A province of Indonesia held public canings for two gay men caught having consensual sex, plus 13 other people convicted of various crimes.

On Friday, officials from the country’s ultra-conservative Aceh region staged the 15 public canings, openly brutalizing two men who were convicted on sodomy charges and sentenced to 87 lashes each. A crowd of more than 300 people watched Friday’s canings and cheered particularly hard during both gay men’s punishments, reports Reuters.

Aceh is the only province of Muslim-majority Indonesia that follows strict Islamic Sharia law, which includes public beatings for crimes like theft, gambling, and adultery. Currently, homosexuality is outlawed across the province, carrying a penalty of up to 100 lashes. In 2016 alone, more than 330 Indonesians were publicly caned in Aceh.

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Officials received flak aplenty for the brutal policy after footage of previous canings made the rounds on social media. Last July, Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf even pledged to carry out future canings inside prisons without recording devices or cameras present—and has since gone back on his word.

LGBTQ Indonesians are no stranger to anti-queer sentiment. The country’s vocal and ultra-conservative religious groups continue to push for laws limiting queer rights and cracking down on LGBTQ spaces.

In 2017, police used an anti-pornography law to raid a gay sauna in Jakarta. And in February, Indonesian officials declared homosexuality a mental disorder, ostensibly to pave the way for the formal criminalization of gay sex.

“Not just [LGBTQ people] but all kinds of minorities, including religious ones, are being politicized and turned into public enemies,” an anonymous 37-year-old queer person from Indonesia told NewNowNext in February. “And it’s working.”

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