Coronavirus doesn’t stop brutal canings as unmarried Indonesian couple caught in hotel room are flogged away from crowds – The Sun

BRUTAL canings are still taking place for unmarried couples who breach Islamic law despite coronavirus lockdown measures. 

Pictures show men and women receiving the vicious punishment from the religious police in the ultra-conservative province of Aceh in Indonesia.

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Six people were flogged for violating the extreme interpretation of Islamic law in the vicious ceremony on Tuesday, April 21.

One unmarried couple were punished for being caught together in a hotel room.

Four other people were also given 40 lashes for drinking alcohol in violation of the law, known as Qanun.

Huge crowds normally gather for the religious punishment – but only a handful of spectators appeared to have attended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The few onlookers could be seen wearing face masks and some appeared to be obeying social distance guidelines.

Indonesia has 7,135 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 616 deaths as the virus continues to spread worldwide.

One of the victims could also be seen wearing a face mask as he was treated by medics after his caning.

And of course the punishment's enforcer was wearing the traditional hood and gloves as he wielded the rattan cane.

Flogging is used as a punishment for a range of religious offences in the region at the tip of the island of Sumatra.

A local official said: "To comply with current conditions, we're trying to cut unnecessary procedures like the usual opening speech.

"We just carried out the flogging directly to make it simpler.

"Whipping will still go on, but we're limiting the number of people involved."

Aceh is the only region in Indonesia that imposes Islamic law, with 98 per cent of its five million residents being Muslim.

It adopted sharia law after being granted a degree of autonomy from the national government in 2001.

The most vicious punishment is 100 lashes, which is administered for the most severe crimes along with prison time.

One of the victims caned for drinking alcohol said he was actually relieved to take the corporal punishment rather than serve more jail time.

He said: "I got bored in prison and now I'm finally a free man."

Human rights groups have condemned the brutal punishments as inhumane, but they have wide support in Aceh.

Indonesia's president Joko Widodo has expressed support for doing away with the practice to improve the province's image.

Speaking in 2017, vice governor Nova Iriansyah suggested the whippings may be moved into a private setting to avoid press attention.
He added, “I think the national government is right that we have to do something.”

Amnesty International has condemned the practice, saying last year the canings are violations of international human rights law.

The group said: "Punishable offences include consensual intimacy or sexual activity for unmarried couples, consensual sex outside marriage, same-sex sexual relations, the consumption and sale of alcohol, and gambling.

"Under international human rights law all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited – they violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and often torture."

Meanwhile, the coronavirus infection total neared 2.5million worldwide – with UK announcing plans to roll out testing of an experimental vaccine.

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