After a widow in Aceh, Indonesia was gang-raped for having an extramarital affair with a 40-year-old married man on April 30, Shariah law requires that she be caned publicly for her offense.
“We want the couple to be caned because they violated the religious bylaw on sexual relations,” said Ibrahim Latif, the head of the Shariah office in the eastern town of Langsa.
While the man was tied up and beaten, eight vigilantes raped the woman, three of whom have been arrested while five continue to be missing. Apart from violating the couple, the attackers also doused them with sewage before dragging them to the Shariah police, who are also known as the Wilayatul Hisbah.
According to Ibrahim, the perpetrators would not be charged with rape at the Shariah Court because they were only punishing the widow for the religious crime that she was committing by having sex with a married man.
“They have to be caned as a form of justice because the rapists will also be processed, but in a criminal court… Besides, they’ve confessed to having sex on several previous occasions, even though the man is married and has five children,” said Latif.
In Aceh where the administration exercises partial Shariah law, the woman and her companion deserve up to nine strokes of caning each. Had the rapists been tried under the same law, they too would have faced the same number of lashes.
This is not the first time in Aceh that a woman is being raped by vigilantes after being accused of inappropriate conduct with an unrelated man. In January 2010, three Shariah police officers raped a 20-year-old university student in Langsa after they found out that she was riding a motorcycle with her boyfriend. Later, the town’s Shariah police chief was fired and two of the perpetrators were sentenced to eight years of prison each while the third one continues to be missing till date.
Photo Credits: RAWA