For the mere act of selling alcoholic beverages in a province where alcohol is banned, an elderly Christian woman on Tuesday was caned dozens of times as a form of punishment in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province.
It was the first such punishment meted out under Islamic bylaws where somebody from outside the Islamic faith was caned under the province’s harsh Sharia regulations.
The 60-year-old was whipped with a rattan cane before a crowd of hundreds in Aceh province Tuesday (12 April), an official said in a report by Channel NewsAsia, along with a couple who were subjected to 100 lashes for committing adultery.
Though the law once only applied to Muslims, a bylaw that took effect late in 2015 allowed Sharia regulations to be applied to non-Muslims in certain situations.
“This is the first case of a non-Muslim being punished under Islamic criminal bylaws,” Lili Suparli, a senior official at the Central Aceh prosecutor's office told AFP.
The Christian woman was lashed 28 times after being held in custody for 47 days, as reported by Benar News.
Sharia laws have been in place at Aceh since 2001. This was when the province was declared partially autonomous in an effort to quell a separatist uprising.
Two days earlier, a pair of German tourists were reportedly reprimanded by local authorities, reported Time Magazine, and let off with a warning for wearing bikinis at one of the province’s beaches.
Under the expanded laws, non-Muslims, including Indonesian and foreign tourists, can be prosecuted if caught committing adultery, rape and homosexual acts. They can also be prosecuted for other violations of Sharia law if Indonesia’s criminal code (KUHP) does not cover the alleged crime.
The updated bylaws set the punishment at 100 lashes for adulterers and homosexuals and 200 lashes for raping children.