Indonesian authorities make efforts to hide public caning of gay men


Aceh is only one Indonesian province, where gay sex is still illegal. And it has been a common practice to use publicly canings and floggings as punishment for the crime in Indonesia and neighbouring Malaysia. On caning days in Aceh, huge crowds gather to watch as convicts are publicly beaten, an event resembling a medieval spectacle. But nowadays caning in Malaysia is conducted in private, often in prison yards and away from crowds. Indonesian government intends to go the same way.

It was the first case of people being punished for homosexuality, when two men accused of having sex with each other, were each sentenced in May 2017 to 85 lashes in public. After this high-profile incident, which became the province of all mankind, leaders have decided to carry out such punishments privately to avoid the media. Human Rights Watch has called on Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf to stop the practice. “But now Irwandi, recently elected governor for a second time, seems to be trying to gloss over a barbaric violation of basic rights. The government should be abolishing this brutal punishment and the abusive laws that allow it, not whitewashing flogging to mollify squeamish investors.” said Human Rights Watch in a statement.

While authorities of Indonesia’s Aceh province are reportedly attempting to cover up corporal punishment of gay men, canings and floggings of men for gay sex are still occurring, but in private rather than in front of crowds.


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