A 19-year-old woman and her 21-year-old boyfriend have been punished by public whipping for ‘being in a relationship ie dating while unmarried’. Both were forced to kneel and receive fifty lashes as retribution.
The spectacle which was supported by a large cheering crowd occurred in Banda Aceh, which is the capital of the Sumatra province in Indonesia.
Following a strict implementation of Islamic Sharia law, Tuesday, the couple were among the eighteen people who were also punished for the same offence of ‘dating without being married’.
The stage for the whipping was next to the mosque in Banda Aceh and the strokes were meted out by a hooded-man with a ‘rattan cane’ with the girl kneeling in front of him.
The girl and the man were caught ‘spending time alone’, an act that goes against the law for unmarried muslims in the province.
Valentine’s day celebrations were banned last February 14; exchange of gifts, cards. and chocolates was deemed an ‘unlawful act’ under Sharia law.
In Jan 2016, Banda Aceh also stopped women from congregating in entertainment venues after 11PM. The exception being she was in the company of a male family member if unmarried and in the company of her husband if married.
It also enacted a bylaw in 2015 which condemned women from straddling motorcycles when riding with a male driver while another necessitated schools to teach girls and boys separately.
Aceh enforced Islamic sharia law in 2001 after receiving special autonomy by the central government in an effort to end a long-running separatist insurgency. This has made them the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country to implement Islamic sharia law, as it whips erring couples daily.
While ninety-percent of Indonesians affirm their faith as muslims, majority of that number apply moderate temparament in their faith.