Teens Lashed for Breaking Sharia Law by Hugging
Teenagers get public lashing after being sentenced to the punishment for cuddling
Two teenagers have received a public lashing in Aceh Province, Indonesia after they were caught violating Sharia Law by hugging each other.
The pair of 18-year-old university students was sentenced to the barbaric punishment due to the public show of affection being deemed an "indecent act" under Islamic Sharia.
The two teens were whipped 17 times each after already spending months in jail because they were caught hugging, due to intimate displays in public being forbidden under Sharia Law.
The young couple was marched on to a stage in front of a mosque in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh before being struck across the back with a bamboo cane while onlookers cheered and took photos with their phones.
According to the Daily Mail, Banda Aceh deputy mayor Zainal Arifin said afterward:
"People outside of Aceh who think Islamic Sharia is cruel can now see that it is actually very tolerant and humane."
Hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the punishment being carried out.
A 35-year-old man was also flogged with a rattan cane for being intimate with a woman - aged 40 - in a local grocery store.
On Thursday, the 40-year-old woman pleaded to be caned in order to get out of jail, but a medical team postponed her flogging after they deemed her physically unfit.
All four had served several months in prison.
Aceh is the only province in the world's biggest Muslim majority country that imposes Islamic law.
Rights groups slam 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 mostly Muslim population - around 98 percent of its five million residents practice Islam.
In December, two men caught having sex with underage girls were whipped 100 times each.
Earlier this year, Aceh said that flogging would be carried out behind prison walls in the future, but some local governments have continued public whippings.
Aceh adopted religious law after it was granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.