Two men in Aceh, Indonesia have been caned 85 times after being convicted for homosexuality and homosexual sex.
More than 3000 people flocked to outside the Syahuda mosque to witness a number of people convicted under Aceh’s Islamic Sharia laws, known as Qanun Jinayat.
The men named only as MT and MH are in the early 20s and were arrested in March. A group of vigilantes raided an apartment where they accused the men of being gay and having sex.
It was the first time anyone was caned in Aceh for gay sex.
One of the gay men about to be caned in Aceh. pic.twitter.com/MQVIZHbJd6
— Samantha Hawley (@samanthahawley) May 23, 2017
Reports in the BBC described many in the crowd cheering as the lashings took place.
‘Let this be a lesson to you,’ one man yelled. ‘Do it harder,’ yelled another.
Another eight people were caned today included two women who were accused of showing affection to a man that was not their husbands.
Warning graphic video:
Original Video posted by Jewel Topsfield (@JewelTopsfield)
Banda aceh on the morning of first-ever public flogging for homosexuality, of 2 men age 20+23. At masjid syuhada. 10 ppl total on agenda. pic.twitter.com/xzKquuBnwY
— Krithika Varagur (@krithikaltheory) May 23, 2017
Scared and depressed
Prior to their caning the men were terrified according to journalist Rebecca Henschke.
‘Before neighbourhood vigilantes broke down the door to his rented room, he was in his final years of a medical degree – his plan was to be a doctor. Now we are told the university has kicked him out,’ she wrote.
Henschke was the only journalist granted an interview with the men.
‘I just want the caning to be over and to go back to my family, I have been deeply depressed. I am trying to pull myself out of a deep black hole,’ he said.
End caning now
‘Komnas HAM is of the opinion that this also covers free discrimination on the basis of any sexual orientation or gender identity.’
He also said Aceh’s laws contradicted wider Indonesian laws on human rights and that caning defied the convention against torture.
‘Implementation of public caning to be carried out also contradicts this convention, which provides evidence that the prevailing qanun is not in line with the spirit of human rights guaranteed in the law,’ he said.
‘The provincial government of Nangro Aceh Darussalam (must) make efforts to adopt human rights values in policy and its implementation.’