Amnesty International has demanded that a new Indonesian bylaw that endorses stoning to death for adultery and caning of up to 100 lashes for homosexuality should be repealed immediately.

The local Islamic Criminal Code was passed by the Aceh Provincial House of Representatives on Monday.
It forbids a number of acts including alcohol consumption, gambling, intimacy between unmarried couples, adultery and fornication, and homosexuality.

In a statement released today Amnesty International said:

“We are concerned by provisions that criminalize adultery and homosexuality.

“Indonesian authorities must ensure that such provisions are repealed in conformity with international law and standards relating to physical and mental integrity and equality before the law.”

The bill caused outcry from human rights groups when it was revealed on Monday.

“The new criminal bylaw flies in the face of international human rights law as well as provisions of the Indonesian constitution,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director.

“Stoning to death is particularly cruel and constitutes torture, which is absolutely forbidden under all circumstances in international law.”

Indonesia’s central government has indicated that the law may contravene Indonesia’s existing human rights protections under the country’s constitution.

“We welcome the concerns expressed by different levels of the Indonesian government about these laws,” Zarifi said. “But the proof is in the doing, and as long as these laws stay on the books they pose a serious threat to Indonesia’s international human rights obligations.”

This is the first time that local legislators have included stoning to death (rajam) as a penalty for those who commit adultery. International human rights law and standards oppose the extension of the death penalty to new crimes.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world.

An anti-prostitution law passed in 2004 in the region of Palembang on Sumatra outlaws gay men and lesbians and includes homosexuality in its definition of prostitution.

The bill is planned to be made law in 30 days time.