Two men in Aceh, a province of Indonesia, face up to 100 lashes of the cane for having gay sex in violation of local religious rules.
Arrested for Suspicion of Being Gay
The two men were arrested after neighbors reported them for suspicion of homosexuality and posted a video allegedly showing proof of their relationship on the internet. The men confessed under interrogation.
ABC News writes:
Marzuki, the Shariah police’s chief investigator, said Saturday that if found guilty, the men will be the first to be caned for gay sex under a new code implemented two years ago.
Residents in a neighborhood of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, reported the men, aged 23 and 20, to police on March 29, said Marzuki, who goes by a single name.
If convicted, the men could be punished by a caning of up to 100 strokes.
LGBTQ Rights in Indonesia
Indonesia doesn’t have laws outlawing homosexuality, but it doesn’t have laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, either. The nation does not recognize same-sex marriage or give legal protection to same-sex couples.
LGBTQ people living in Indonesia also face strong prejudice and social stigma. The New York Times reported in 2016 that “the national atmosphere regarding gay rights may be growing more highly charged” as major government officials publicly denounced pro-LGBTQ organizations on college campuses.
Aceh, though, is particularly conservative. It’s the only part of Indonesia that imposes Sharia law. As such, strict local courts dole out corporal punishments for moral offenses like gambling or drinking alcohol. In October 2016, the Guardian wrote of 13 people caned in a mosque at the capital, Banda Aceh, for breaking intimacy laws by hugging and kissing out of wedlock. The Guardian also noted that such punishments were becoming more frequent.
Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim country, but most Indonesians practice a much more moderate form of Islam than Aceh.