Gay Couple Sentenced to 85 Lashes By Sharia Court

Gay Couple Sentenced to 85 Lashes By Sharia Court

The appeal comes following the news that two gay men will be publicly caned 85 times for having sex out of wedlock.

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According to the BBC, the pair were sentenced on Wednesday to receive 85 lashes each after being found guilty of violating the strict Islamic laws of the province, the only region in Indonesia to practice Sharia.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) had called on Indonesia to release the men who were detained in March after vigilantes reported them to religious police for allegedly engaging in gay sex.

Presiding judge Khairil Jamal told the court that the men had been "proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing gay sex" and would be caned in public.

The Aceh Islamic Criminal Code was passed by the Aceh parliament in 2014 and came into effect throughout Aceh Province on 23 October 2015.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Indonesia has faced growing pressure since high-ranking government officials previous year expressed reservations about activism by its members.

Global human rights groups have described the treatment of the men as abusive and humiliating and called for their immediate release. Aceh is the only province where Sharia is in force.

Horrifying footage shows one of the distressed men, who was completely naked, speaking to his family on a phone, while telling one of the vigilantes: 'Please brother, please stop'.

The harsh verdict has been condemned by human rights groups and activists. The prosecution had only requested 80 strokes.

International rights groups decried the sentence, which was also handed down on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Aceh is the only province in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country which implements Sharia law.

This punishment is also applied for other perceived morality offences such as adultery, gambling, drinking alcohol, women who wear tight clothes, and men who skip Friday prayers.

Earlier this month, the outgoing Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian Chinese-Indonesian, was sentenced to two years in prison for campaign comments that were viewed as blaspheming the Quran. The group also said that a public caning would constitute torture under worldwide law.

While homosexuality has never been illegal in Indonesia, attitudes towards LGBT people have become steadily more extreme in recent years despite a growing gay population.

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