Two university students in Indonesia -- a man and a woman -- were caned in a public ceremony on Dec. 28 in the province of Banda Aceh. The two students were reportedly caned for getting "too close" to each other while unmarried, which is a violation of the province's interpretation of Sharia law.
Nur Elita, 20, and Wahyudi Saputra, 23, were caned for the indecency offense, which forbids affectionate contact by an unmarried couple. Four older men were also caned during the ceremony, although their canings were for gambling, the Jakarta Post reports.
Elita was the first of the six people caned during the ceremony. She reportedly received five lashes from a man wearing a mask and was then carried to an ambulance and taken to hospital.
Saputra was also caned, and he was forced to stand while he was being whipped, according to Metro.co.uk. Like Elita and the other four men who received lashes, Saputra was caned five times.
Zainal Arifin, the deputy mayor of Banda Aceh, addressed the crowd watching the canings.
“Take these punishments as a lesson," Zainal told a local news agency, according to the Post. "What has been done by these convicts should not be taken as an example. And, I hope their canings in Meuraxa district today will be the last ever."
Zainal also urged members of the community to prevent violations of Sharia law in the future, the Post notes.
“And to the public, I ask that you do not isolate those who have been convicted here today," he added. "And also, those who have been convicted are reminded not to repeat the same mistakes."
Banda Aceh is the only province of Indonesia governed by Sharia law.