The Banda Aceh province of Indonesia continues to make news with its use of caning as a form of legal punishment.
Photos of a 20-year-old being publicly caned in October are currently circulating on social media. The woman was flogged after being caught standing too close to her boyfriend.
That day, she was one of 13 people -- all of them under age 20 -- to be caned at a mosque, reports the Daily Mail. The flogging of a pregnant woman was postponed but will take place after she gives birth.
In a report published in April, Amnesty International addressed the issue or caning in Banda Aceh.
The report notes that caning has been used there as punishment for selling alcoholic beverages, consensual sexual relations, and being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a marriage partner or relative.
Regarding the specific law which authorizes the canings, Amnesty International explains: “The Aceh Islamic Criminal Code was passed by the Aceh parliament (DPRA) in 2014 and came into effect throughout Aceh Province on 23 October 2015. Shari’a bylaws have been in force in Aceh since the enactment of the province’s Special Autonomy Law in 2001, and are enforced by Islamic courts.”
The report goes on to give a visual description of canings, noting that they are “regularly carried out in public spaces drawing large crowds where people take photographs and video which can add to the humiliation and long-term suffering of those who are subjected to this cruel, painful, degrading punishment.” As of April, at least 60 people had been caned in Aceh under the law.
Amnesty International considers caning a violation of international law, and has called on the Indonesian government to abolish it. The legal case against the punishment is summarized by the organization as follows:
Caning and other forms of corporal punishment violate the international law prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT), to which Indonesia is a state party.