Banda Aceh (Agenzia Fides) - An elderly 60-year-old Protestant Christian woman was caned in Indonesia, the first time a Sharia law punishment, has been meted out to a non-Muslim.
As Fides learns, this is what happened to Remita Sinaga, who was convicted of selling alcohol, after the police seized 50 bottles of alcohol from her shop and whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane, before a crowd of hundreds in the town of Takengon, in the province of Aceh.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that applies Sharia law, reserved for Muslim citizens, but also non-Muslims can choose it. As some local officials pointed out, the woman chose flogging voluntarily, thinking that the alternative would be worse: a period of detention, according to the law in force. In 2015, in fact, the Indonesian government banned the sale of alcohol in small shops.
In 2002, the Indonesian central government granted to the province of Aceh, home to 4.7 million people the majority of whom are Muslims, a regime of "special autonomy". The new Islamic Penal Code was approved in the province in 2014 and entered into force in October 2015.
The Code punishes with flogging sexual relations outside marriage, consumption or sale of alcohol, gambling.
According to the Indonesian NGO "Kontras", which defends and promotes human rights, "flogging is an inhuman practice and is a form of torture that should not be allowed in Indonesia". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/06/2016)