Public flogging has become the norm in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia that implements Syariah laws and whipping punishment. Aceh implemented the laws in 2001, but in September the religious penal code was extended to everyone, including some 90,000 non-Muslims who live there.
Offences not previously regulated such as adultery, homosexual acts, and sex outside marriage are now punishable with sentences handed down by the Syariah Courts, including public flogging. Buying or carrying alcoholic beverages could result in 10 strokes of the cane, 10 months in prison, or a maximum fine of 100 grams in gold.
In the latest public flogging on Monday, a baying crowd cheered as an Acehnese woman was whipped at the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh. The woman was among 13 people — seven men and six women aged between 21 and 30 — who were caned that day.
The Acehnese couples were whipped 10 to 25 times for violating a Syariah law for dating between a man and a woman without married. Six couples were found guilty of breaking the laws that ban intimacy, such as touching, hugging and kissing, between unmarried people.
A man was caned for khalwat — a less serious offence described as spending time with a member of the opposite sex in a hidden location that could lead to adultery.
One 22-year-old woman was given a temporary reprieve as she was pregnant, but Aceh Deputy Mayor Zainal Arifin has pledged: “The punishment will be handed down after she gives birth.”
Hoping that the public flogging would serve as a deterrent, he said: “We hope there are no more people in Banda Aceh who break the law in future.”
More and more people are being caned in Aceh, with a particular increase in recent times in the number of women being flogged.
Is justice rightly served? Do we need to fear the implementations of such laws in Malaysia?
In a March 9 news article, The Star reported that the Kelantan government supported a suggestion by a PAS assemblyman that adulterers be whipped in public after Friday prayers.
Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah said the suggestion “is good as a way to gradually introduce Hudud laws in the state.”
“The suggestion is a good one but needs a lot of study and I believe it is possible because Acheh has implemented such punishment. We will also look into the mechanics of implementing it in Kelantan,” Mohd Amar, who is PAS vice-president, said.
Should we fear PAS’s hudud ambition? How confident are we that proper justice would be meted out? There is no guarantee that no-Muslims would be affected or subjected to the same laws. Just look at Aceh.
Source : The Heat Malaysia Online