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Sharia executor or 'algojo' punishes a sharia violator in public for sexual relations without marriage in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

BANDA ACEH: A group of unmarried couples were whipped in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Thursday after they were caught behaving amorously – a crime under the conservative region’s Islamic law.

Flogging is common for a range of offences in the region at the tip of Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol and having gay sex.


People use their mobile phones to record public caning in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

It is the only province in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country that imposes Islamic law.


A Sharia executor or 'algojo' leaves the punishment area after performing public caning in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

The five couples flogged Thursday received between four and 22 strokes from a rattan cane outside a mosque in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, after they served several months in prison.


An Acehnese woman faces public caning as punishment for sexual relations without marriage in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

Religious police caught the amorous couples cuddling and holding hands or, in some cases, having sex.

Hundreds of spectators, including children, watched as a masked sharia officer lashed the offenders as they winced in pain.


An Acehnese man faces public caning as punishment for sexual relations without marriage in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

“We hope in the future there will be no more cases like this – it’s embarrassing,” said religious officer Safriadi, who goes by one name.

In December, two men caught having sex with underage girls were whipped 100 times each in Aceh.


An Acehnese man faces a public caning as punishment for sexual relations without marriage in Banda Aceh, Aceh, Indonesia. - EPA

Rights groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for it to end, but the practice has wide support among Aceh’s population.--AFP


People watch as an Indonesian woman is whipped by a member of the Sharia police in public in Banda Aceh. - AFP

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