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Amnesty urges Indonesian province to repeal law punishing gay sex with 100 lashes

Aaron Day September 29, 2014
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Amnesty International has called for an immediate repeal of a new law in the Indonesian province of Aceh which punishes homosexuality with public flogging.

The Aceh – the only part of the Asian nation which enforces Islamic Sharia law – has autonomous control over crime and punishment.

The new by-law in the province, first reported last week, outlaws gay sex for both men and women, and for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

The law states anyone engaging in homosexuality should be punished with 100 months in jail, 100 lashes, or a fine equivalent to 1,000 grammes of gold.

Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific director, said in a statement: “This law will only add to the climate of homophobia, fear and harassment many in Aceh are already facing.

“Laws that criminalise sex outside marriage… are used disproportionately to police and punish women’s choices. They also act as a deterrent to women reporting rape and sexual violence who may fear being accused of sex outside marriage.”

According to Amnesty, at least 156 people have been caned in Aceh since 2010 for various unrelated offences, including gambling, selling food during the Ramadan, and drinking alcohol.

Bennett added: “[Caning is] a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that is clearly prohibited under international law”.

Homosexuality is legal in the rest of Indonesia, though the age of consent for gay sex is higher than for straight sex.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population – but outside of the Aceh, most practice a more moderate form of the faith.

Claims that the law will be implemented ‘slowly’ are similar to those made by Brunei when it passed a law calling for homosexuals to be stoned to death – which commentators at the time rejected as a transparent attempt to dodge international outcry.

Related topics: aceh, Asia, caning, flogging, Indonesia, Indonesia, Islam

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