KUALA LUMPUR – Acheh’s governor is considering turning canings away from the public eye, even as Kelantan moved in the opposite direction to approve public floggings.
US paper the New York Times reported Friday that the Indonesian province, which implements Shariah law in the Muslim-majority country that has a secular constitution, was considering such changes to avoid negative media attention and to prevent outside investment from being affected, after the caning before a jeering crowd of two Indonesian men for gay sex made international headlines.
“We will minimalise press coverage and conduct it inside prisons. Right now it’s in front of the mosque, right after Friday prayers,” Acheh vice governor Nova Iriansyah was quoted telling local media.
“I think the national government is right that we have to do something.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo had reportedly met newly inaugurated governor Irwandi Yusuf to discuss ways to improve Acheh’s international image.
In a statement, the governor’s office reportedly highlighted the provisional nature of the discussions to stop public canings, as the decision must be approved by Muslim scholars and Acheh’s legislature.
The New York Times reported that huge crowds would gather during caning days in Acheh to watch convicts get whipped publicly.
The two Indonesian men in their early 20s who had received 83 strokes of the cane each last May on a stage outside a mosque were the first case of people getting punished for homosexuality in Acheh.
The Kelantan state legislative assembly passed last Wednesday amendments to the state’s Shariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002 that would allow Shariah offenders in the PAS state to be caned publicly. Caning is a standard punishment in both civil and Shariah law in Malaysia.
Pahang Mufti Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Osman reportedly said Pahang could follow suit in implementing public caning for Shariah offences, while Kedah PAS said it would consider listing public whipping in its manifesto for the 14th general elections.
– Malay Mail