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Indonesian public caning

Indonesia (Aceh province) - public canings

With comments by C. Farrell

Two clips of public canings in Aceh.

Clip 1 of 2

Of the several video clips now available of Sharia Islamic canings in Aceh, this one (2 minutes) is the clearest. It appeared on US public television in June 2007. The soundtrack is in the local language but there are English subtitles.

Here, a man and a woman are seen being caned simultaneously in front of a large crowd. They are being punished for being together while not being married to each other, contrary to Islamic law. Each receives seven strokes.

As in all the previous pictures we have seen from Aceh, the man stands up on his own two feet during the caning, while the woman kneels down.

It now becomes evident that practice is not consistent: all previous information was that the punishment was inflicted on the upper back, but here we see the man receiving his strokes on his posterior (surely a more humane and intelligent place to apply them), while the woman is caned on the small of the back.

In this particular case the strokes are not at all hard, and it is clear that the object of the exercise is shame and humiliation rather than significant physical pain.

Afterwards the woman is interviewed and complains about having been made an example of. She does not seem very contrite about having broken the rules of her religion.


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IMPORTANT: Copyright in this video material rests with the original copyright holders. This brief excerpt is reproduced under the "fair use" doctrine EXTERNAL LINK: opens in new window for private, non-profit, historical research and education purposes only. It must not be redistributed or republished in any commercial context.

Clip 2 of 2

The picture quality of this film is poor. It item was aired on Metro TV on 30 July 2006 and shows a man and a woman being punished on a stage set up in front of a mosque, watched by a large and noisy crowd.

Whipping of manThe commentary states that two people were caned recently in the district of Aceh Selatan (South Aceh), in front of thousands of spectators in the courtyard of the local mosque. The two culprits, not husband and wife, had been caught committing adultery (zina) at a beach at the end of June. The man, a teacher by profession, received nine strokes while the woman received seven. This is the second time caning has taken place in Aceh Selatan. The previous case involved some gamblers.

When caning in Aceh began in June 2005, it seemed a rather symbolic affair, evidently designed to humiliate rather than hurt very much.

However, by January 2006 the procedure may have become somewhat more severe, as indicated by this picture of a caned man's back after he had received 40 strokes for drinking alcohol.

These canings are applied to the upper back. The culprits receive their punishment fully clothed, from an official hidden beneath a hood, as more clearly shown in this still picture from June 2005. They either stand (men) or kneel (women), with no equipment of any sort to restrain them.

In the clip we see a few strokes being inflicted on each recipient. Warning: The scenes involving the woman are harrowing, as she is evidently in great distress, even though the strokes in her case do not look to be particularly hard. The spectacle is made the more distasteful by the unseemly roaring of the vulgar mob.


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