Indonesian Buddhists publicly caned under Aceh's Sharia law
Two Indonesian-Chinese men in Aceh choose 10 lashes over jail time after getting caught in an illegal cockfighting ring.
BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA — Two Buddhist men convicted of illegal gambling were publicly caned on March 10 in Indonesia’s Aceh province. Aceh is Indonesia’s bastion of hardline Islam, and the only jurisdiction in the country with a Sharia legal code.
Alem Suhadi and Amel Akim are members of Aceh’s minority Buddhist and ethnic Chinese community. The duo, who were involved in illegal cockfight betting ring, are the first Buddhists ever to have been punished under Sharia law.
Aceh implemented elements of a Sharia legal code in 2001, after the national government granted the province special autonomy.
Their road to the cane began on New Year’s Day when they were arrested in a sting operation. Police confiscated two fighting cocks and the equivalent of about US$30.
As the pair are non-Muslims, each was given a choice: be jailed under Indonesian law, or get the cane under Sharia. Neither wanted to go to jail.
And so last Friday, each man received his sentence: 10 strikes of the cane.
These men join a select club of non-Muslims to receive corporal Sharia punishment in Aceh. In 2016, a Christian woman was caned 30 times after she was found guilty of selling alcohol.
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