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Indonesian Gay Couple Flogged as Mob Cheers

Indonesia Flogs Gay Couple for Sex Before Mob

Each man received over 80 lashes for engaging in gay sex.

A gay couple was flogged over 80 times each for having sex in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province Friday, Agence France-Presse reports. The violence, which took place outside a mosque, was cheered on by a crowd of about 1,000 people.

The audience, which included Malaysian tourists who snapped pictures, shouted "flog them harder" as the men were lashed. The couple was among 15 others who were whipped for other acts bsnnrf by local Islamic law, such as alcohol consumption and public displays of affection.

According to Indonesian authorities, the couple was apprehended by a vigilante mob at a beauty salon in Banda Aceh, who handed them over to police.

"Hopefully the flogging we're witnessing today will serve as a lesson for people not to violate sharia (Islamic law)," Banda Aceh official Tarmizi Yahya told AFP.

The two men were the second gay couple publicly flogged this year in Aceh, the only region in Indonesia that imposes Sharia law. After drawing international criticism, Aceh officials had pledged to stop public whippings and only use the punishment inside prisons. This policy has yet to be implemented.

"I don't think they're being serious about the flogging -- it looks like they are just playing around," said Bukhari, a fisherman who brought his wife to watch the punishment, "The Sharia officer should have flogged them as hard as he could."

Gay sex is not banned in other parts of Indonesia, but there has been a rise in anti-LGBT sentiment in recent years in the country. In an attempt to put down a separatist insurgency, the national government granted Aceh special autonomy in 2001 to use religious law.

The practice of public floggings is widely supported by Aceh's population, especially its governor, Irwandi Yusuf, who has called criticism of the punishment "Islamophobic." Last week he was arrested on corruption charges.

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