Two men caught having sex in Indonesia may receive 100 lashes each if found guilty of violating strict moral codes.
The men, ages 23 and 20, were caught March 28 in a rented room in Aceh, and confessed to being a couple. Video of their capture has gone viral, and depicts one of the men, naked and terrified, calling his family for help. “We are being held here in Unsyiah, uncle,” he says, referencing Syiah Kuala University.
Aceh has been governed by Sharia law since 2001, when the government granted the province autonomy in hopes of quelling the long-running separatist insurgency in the region. Though homosexuality is not a crime in the rest of Indonesia, Aceh’s anti-gay law was implemented in 2015.
Up to 100 lashes are allowed for a variety of offenses, including gambling, drinking alcohol, wearing of tight clothes by women, men skipping Friday prayer services, and even cockfighting. The canings are carried out by hooded officers in the public square, and are usually well-attended.
More than 90% of Indonesia’s 255 million citizens identify as Muslim, but the country has generally been considered more moderate than other Islamic nations.