A 60-YEAR-OLD Christian woman was whipped nearly 30 times for selling alcohol in Indonesia’s conservative Bandar Aceh, a semi-autonomous province governed by Islamic Shariah law.
This is the first time that a non-Muslim person was punished under the religious code, which involves corporal punishment for breaching its laws.
The woman faced the caning before a crowd of hundreds that gathered in the province on Tuesday. She was whipped along with a couple who faced about 100 lashes for committing adultery.
According to Coconuts Jakarta, Aceh is the sole province in the Muslim-majority country to impose Shariah law, which calls for public caning upon the breach of the code. Public canings often draw large crowds.
The laws apply to those who commit adultery, engage in same-sex relationships, consume alcohol, or have ‘close contact’ with members of the opposite sex outside marriage.
In the report, a senior official at the Central Aceh prosecutor’s office told AFP, that a bylaw that took effect last year allowed the law the be applied to non-Muslims under some circumstances, although it previously only applied to Muslims.
“This is the first case of a non-Muslim being punished under Islamic criminal bylaw,” Lili Suparli was quoted saying, alluding to the Christian woman’s punishment.
The implementation of Shariah law in Aceh was a means to resolve a long-standing crisis between the province and central government. Aceh was given autonomy in Jakarta’s bid to reduce tensions from separatist movements.
Under the law, which has gradually taken effect since 2001, women were instructed to don the ‘hijab’, or Muslim headscarf, and observe the Islamic dress code.