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World Indonesian Province May Move Canings Away From Public Eye

17:58  14 july  2017
17:58  14 july  2017 Source:   nytimes.com

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Even as the Indonesian province considers moving the public floggings indoors, a highly conservative state in neighboring Malaysia, Kelantan, passed a law allowing it to become the first Currently, caning in Malaysia is conducted in private, often in prison yards and away from crowds.

The governor of Aceh Province is considering making whippings private to avoid negative media attention. A state in neighboring Malaysia, meanwhile, has voted to allow public punishment.

One of the men who was publicly caned in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in May for having sex with another man.© Beawiharta/Reuters One of the men who was publicly caned in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in May for having sex with another man.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Two months after Indonesia’s most conservative province drew international headlines for publicly caning two young gay men for having sex with each other, the governor there is considering making such whippings private to avoid negative media attention and prevent any adverse impact on outside investment.

The proposed changes in Aceh Province have caused a stir in Indonesia ever since local news media reported that President Joko Widodo had met with the newly inaugurated governor, Irwandi Yusuf, to discuss ways to improve the province’s international image.

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Even as the Indonesian province considers moving the public floggings indoors, a highly conservative state in neighbouring Malaysia, Kelantan, passed a law allowing it to Currently, caning in Malaysia is conducted in private, often in prison yards and away from crowds. Publicly beaten.

The governor of Aceh Province is considering making whippings private to avoid negative attention. A state in neighboring Malaysia, meanwhile, has voted to allow public punishment.

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In an interview with the local media, Vice Governor Nova Iriansyah said that because of the international attention on public whippings, “We will minimalize press coverage and conduct it inside prisons. Right now it’s in front of the mosque, right after Friday prayers.”

He added, “I think the national government is right that we have to do something.”

Even as Aceh considered moving the public floggings indoors, a highly conservative state in neighboring Malaysia, Kelantan, passed a law allowing it to become the first state in the country to hold public canings.

On caning days in Aceh, huge crowds gather to watch as convicts are publicly beaten, an event resembling a medieval spectacle.

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Indonesia . In an interview with the local media, Vice Governor Nova Iriansyah said that because of the international attention on public whippings: “We will minimalize press coverage and conduct it inside prisons.

The governor of Aceh Province is considering making whippings private to avoid negative attention. A state in neighboring Malaysia, meanwhile, has voted to allow public punishment. Julie Klam Stars In Our Eyes .

In a statement, the governor’s office stressed the provisional nature of the discussions to end public canings, noting that the decision required approval from Muslim scholars and Aceh’s legislature. But longtime critics of public caning said they were glad to hear that the punishment might be phased out.

“It will mean nobody will be publicly humiliated anymore,” said Ratna Sari, the head of Women’s Solidarity, Aceh, a progressive group. Still, she said, it was only a “small step forward” since canings will still be conducted, only out of sight.

Two men accused of having sex with each other were each sentenced in May to 85 lashes in public, the first case of people being punished for homosexuality in the province under a strict version of Shariah law.

The sentences alarmed rights activists, who called the punishment a dangerous development in Aceh, a semiautonomous province on the northern tip of Sumatra island that has imposed a strict version of Shariah, the legal code of Islam.

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Indonesian Province May Move Canings Away From Public Eye . The governor of Aceh Province is considering making whippings private to avoid negative attention. A state in neighboring Malaysia, meanwhile, has voted to allow public punishment.

The Banda Aceh city administration decided to carry out the caning in pubic despite a recent decision taken by the Aceh Governor to move the caning punishments indoors, away from the public eye .

Efforts to change how Shariah law is enforced are very controversial in Aceh, which was granted the right to establish Shariah after ending a decades-long brutal civil war with the government in 2005. Hard-line Islamist groups have called on Mr. Joko not to interfere in Aceh’s affairs, and the new governor is under fire at home for consulting with Jakarta on local Shariah ordinances.

Still, this is not the first time that Mr. Irwandi has stood up to hard-line Islamists. In a previous stint as governor, from 2007 to 2012, he refused to sign into law a version of Shariah that mandated adulterers be stoned to death. Ultimately, Aceh’s Department of Shariah revised the criminal code and sent Parliament a new version without the provision on stoning.

In Malaysia on Wednesday, Kelantan’s legislature, which is controlled by the conservative Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, amended the state’s Shariah legal code to allow public punishment. Caning is a standard penalty in the country, meted out by both secular and Shariah courts. Caning in Malaysia, however, has been conducted in private, often in prison yards and away from crowds.

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Shariah public caning draws huge crowd, but maybe the last. An Indonesian woman is publicly caned for prostitution in Banda Aceh, Aceh province , Indonesia , April 20, 2018. REUTERS.

Indonesian Province May Move Canings Away From Public Eye . The governor of Aceh Province is considering making whippings private to avoid negative attention. A state in neighboring Malaysia, meanwhile, has voted to allow public punishment. By JON EMONT.

Alia Affendy, the communications officer for Sisters in Islam, a group that advocates for a progressive version of Islam, denounced the new law. A news release from the organization referred to public caning as “a deplorable form of humiliation and shaming” that would build an “increasingly repressive environment.”

Ms. Alia said in an interview that the new law was part of a broader national effort by conservative groups to alter Malaysia’s legal code. “There is a big fundamentalist movement changing the law, not just at the state legislative level, but also at the federal level,” she said.

Ultraconservative Muslims often back public forms of punishment, which they believe have greater deterrent value. “Shariah punishments must be executed in public,” Kelantan’s deputy chief minister, Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, told Bernama, a state news agency.

Malaysia, a multiethnic nation of 30 million people, has a population that is 60 percent Muslim, though the country has large Chinese and Indian minorities who tend not to be Muslim. Politicians have been debating how public whippings would affect the country’s image abroad, with Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz, the nation’s tourism and culture minister, telling the news media that the whippings would not have an effect on tourism because tourists rarely visit Kelantan anyway.

Other politicians swiftly contradicted this assertion. “This can become a new Malaysian tourism product for Nazri to sell overseas so that non-Muslims, particularly those from developed nations, can see ancient and barbaric punishments being carried out in the democratic and modern Malaysia,” said Zainuddin Maidin, a former information minister, according to the local news website Malaysiakini.com.

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