Two people whipped unconscious during ‘inhumane’ public punishments in Indonesia

Conrad Duncan
An Indonesian man faints after he was whipped in public on charges of engaging in sexual relations, in Aceh Timur: AFP via Getty Images

A man and woman were whipped until they passed out during separate public punishments by authorities in Indonesia on Thursday.

The 22-year-old man was beaten unconscious and required resuscitation during a punishment of 100 lashings for extramarital sex in front of 500 jeering spectators in East Aceh, according to the AFP news agency.

He was reportedly revived and given medical attention before the flogging resumed.

In a separate incident, a woman who was sentenced to 30 lashes fell unconscious during her punishment in Aceh Tamiang, according to local media.

Amnesty International UK said her punishment, which may be resumed at a later date, was for being found "in the company of a man other than her male guardian."

In the East Aceh flogging, the man’s two co-defendants, another man and a woman, received the same punishment.

Amnesty International UK said the 22-year-old was taken to hospital after the end of his punishment.

Public canings are regularly carried out in the province of Aceh and draw large crowds who are allowed to take photographs and video of the beatings.

Following the enactment of the Special Autonomy Law in 2001, conservative sharia by-laws have come into force and are enforced by Islamic courts in the province.

In some cases, these laws come with punishments of up to 200 lashes for offences such as consensual sex outside marriage, same-sex sexual relations and gambling.

Aceh province is the only part of Indonesia that uses sharia law.

“The fact that two people were beaten unconscious today, in two separate incidents, is a damning indictment of the authorities who let this happen on their watch,” Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director, said.

“These punishments are cruel, inhumane and degrading, and amount to torture.

“These whippings are a shameful and vicious public spectacle. No-one deserves to face this unspeakable cruelty.”

Mr Hamid has called on authorities to immediately repeal the law allowing such punishments.

In 2017, Human Rights Watch reported more than 500 people had been publicly flogged in Indonesia in the past two years and called for an end to the “barbaric” use of public punishments.

Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, has called for the practice to be stopped.

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