SHARIA courts in Indonesia’s Aceh province have sentenced two men to be caned in public for having gay sex.
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.
In March, the two men were found in bed together by a group of vigilantes who filmed the couple and then circulated the video online.
Aged 20 and 23, they were forced to “confess” after residents in Banda Aceh’s Rukoh neighbourhood became suspicious of their relationship, according to Shariah police’s chief investigator, Marzuki.
Further video shared widely in Muslim-majority Indonesia, showed the men being kicked and beaten by people in the neighbourhood.
This is the first conviction for homosexuality in Indonesia as it is not illegal in the rest of the country.
The Constitutional Court is, however, considering a judicial review to seek the criminalisation of pre-marital sex and homosexual sex throughout the nation.
Judge Khairil Jamal told the court that the men had been “proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing gay sex”, according to AFP news agency.
The sentence will be carried out in a public ceremony on May 23.
Such canings are a regular occurrence in the provincial capital and have become popular spectator events, often seeing young children gather to watch the punishment being carried out.
Offences that carry the caning punishment include gambling, drinking alcohol, and not adhering to public dress requirements.