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Indonesian Man Who Supported Law Punishing Adulterers With Caning Gets Caned For Adultery

An Indonesian man who helped pass a law that punished adulterers by publicly flogging them has himself been flogged for adultery.

The man, known only as Mukhlis, was given 28 lashes after he had an affair with a married woman. The woman was also publicly punished.

CNN reported that the man is a member of the Aceh Ulema Council in one of the most conservative provinces of Indonesia, and the only region that imposes Sharia law. A number of other offenses are also punishable by caning, including homosexuality and alcohol consumption.

“We have clarified his identity and we proceeded with the investigation and handed over the dossier to prosecutors, and today we carried out the implementation of the flogging punishment,” Banda Aceh sharia police chief Muhammad Hidayat told the Agence France-Presse.

Another resident told the AFP that “A lot of things we can learn, but ultimately we have to enforce God’s laws, especially on Islamic land like here.”

The deputy regent of the municipality told the AFP: “No matter who you are … if you violate (Islamic) law you will be whipped.”

“The organisation for which Mukhlis works advised the local government and legislature on drafting and implementing Aceh’s religious law, including public flogging,” the AFP reported.

“It was not immediately clear what he did for the agency.”

The outlet reported that Mukhlis would likely be fired due to his employer’s moral code.

In addition to Mukhlis, the AFP reported, “a female university student was flogged a dozen times after she was caught spending the night in a boarding house with a man, who escaped punishment because he was underage.”

The outlet reported that three people were caned in July for premarital sex, each one receiving 100 lashes. Last year two men were whipped 100 times for having sex with underaged girls.

As CNN reported, 15 people were caned last year in the Aceh province.

“Two men accused of being gay received 87 lashes each for gay sex, while nine others were sentenced up to 26 lashes for adultery. Four people were caned for being drunk, including one woman who received 27 lashes,” the outlet reported.

People gather for the public punishments, sometimes by the hundreds. Mukhlis’ flogging was attended by just a handful of people, but some filmed the lashing with their cell phones.

Those who are publicly flogged receive health checks ahead of time to ensure they can withstand the punishment.

CNN reported that Aceh’s Sharia criminal code was adopted in September 2015. Human Rights Watch reported that the adoption of the criminal code has “had a chilling effect on the basic rights to security and freedom of expression for Aceh’s deeply marginalized LGBT community.” The report added that LGBT people in the Aceh Province “live in a spiraling climate of fear … [and] face ever-present harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention by Sharia [Islamic law] and municipal police, and threats of torture.”

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