The Jakarta Post
Banda Aceh administration held a public caning on Monday, punishing six people for indecency and gambling, activities prohibited by Aceh's Islamic bylaws, locally known as qanun.
Antara news agency reported that two university students from Sieule regency, Wahyudi Saputra, 23, and Nur Elita, 20, were caned for committing khalwat ( affectionate contact by an unmarried couple ).
Meanwhile, four men were convicted of violating a 2003 qanun that prohibits gambling. The residents of Meuraxa subdistrict of Banda Aceh were Asrul bin M Daud, 52, Khaidir bin Daud, 50, Yoserizal bin Dahyuzar, 45, and Mukhlis bin Ramli, 43.
The punishments were executed in the front yard of the Baiturrahim Mosque in Banda Aceh, witnessed by hundreds of people including Banda Aceh Deputy Mayor Zainal Arifin.
Each of the convicts received five strokes for their violations. The first to be punished was Nur Elita, who had to be carried to an ambulance by officials following her punishment.
The crowd was heard cheering as each of the convicted walked on stage to be caned.
Deputy Mayor Zainal explained to the crowd that these punishments were not merely for show but were to be taken as a lesson by everyone.
'Take these punishments as a lesson. What has been done by these convicts should not be taken as an example. And I hope their canings in Meuraxa district today will be the last ever,' he said as quoted by Antara.
Zainal urged the community to look out for themselves and their families to prevent any violations of sharia. He also reminded the public to guard those in their surroundings from misconduct.
'And to the public, I ask that you do not isolate those who have been punished here today. Also, the convicted are reminded not to repeat their mistakes,' he said.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia to implement the sharia-based system, which was first implemented in 2003 following the province's awarding of special autonomy. ( liz/rin )