A gay couple in the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh could face 80 lashes under the province’s Sharia law after local vigilantes filmed them having sex.
The lead prosecutor, named Gulmaini, claimed the two defendants aged 20 and 23 had “confessed” to being in a gay relationship during a court hearing on Wednesday, according to the Independent.
A panel of three Sharia judges will rule on the case next week, the couple could become the first gay men to be publicly caned since Aceh adopted a new code of Sharia law in 2015.
Aceh’s Shariah code, the only province in Indonesia to adopt Sharia, allows up to 100 lashes for “morality” offences including homosexual sex, adultery, gambling, drinking alcohol, women who wear tight clothes and men who skip Friday prayers.
Human Rights Watch called for the couple to be released immediately, saying the punishment sought by prosecutors constitutes torture under international law.
“These men had their privacy invaded in a frightening and humiliating manner and now face public torture for the 'crime' of their alleged sexual orientation,” said Phelim Kine, the group’s deputy Asia division director, according to The independent.
“The arrest and detention of these two men underscores the abuse imbedded in Aceh’s discriminatory, anti-LGBT ordinances.”