An Indonesian woman was caned in public as a punishment for having sex outside marriage.
The harsh penalty was carried out in a public square as onlookers took photos in Banda Aceh in Indonesia‘s Aceh province on Thursday.
The woman – who was not identified – is seen kneeling under a canopy dressed with her hair covered with a white hijab as a person holds a cane that appears to be made out of bamboo against her back.
It was not clear how many lashes the woman received.
Aceh – the only region in the world’s most populous Muslim majority country that imposes Sharia law – has drawn fire in the past for putting moral restrictions on women.
It considers lesbian, gay, bisexual relationships and sex outside of marriage as Sharia law violations.
It also attracted global condemnation for publicly whipping people found guilty of a range of offences including homosexuality, gambling and drinking alcohol.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that a district in Aceh province banned men and women from dining together unless they are married or related, with officials saying it would help women be ‘more well behaved’.
Under the latest regulation, women in Bireuen district on Sumatra island will not be able to share a table with men at restaurants and coffee shops unless they are accompanied by their husband or a close male relative.
Co-workers on their lunch break would also be forbidden from sharing a meal.
‘The objective is to protect women’s dignity so they will feel more comfortable, more at ease, more well behaved and will not do anything that violates sharia,’ local head of the local sharia agency Jufliwan, who like many Indonesians has only one name, said.
More than 90 per cent of the 255million people who live in Indonesia describe themselves as Muslim, but the vast majority practice a moderate form of the faith.
The brutal and public beatings have become more prevalent this year with a number of reported incidents of those being punished collapsing in pain on stage.
After a three-decade-old separatist movement, a peace agreement signed in 2005 granted special autonomy to Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra, on condition that it remained part of the sprawling archipelago.
As part of that deal, Aceh won the right to be the only Indonesian province to use Islamic sharia law as its legal code.
An Acehnese woman was also lashed as part of the public caning on Friday outside a mosque after prayers had finished
Anybody caught engaging in consensual gay sex is punished with 100 lashes, 100 months in jail or a fine of 1,000 grams of gold.
The law also set out punishment for sex crimes, unmarried people engaging in displays of affection, people caught found guilty of adultery and underage sex.
Religious police in Aceh have been known to target Muslim women without head scarves or those wearing tight clothes, and people drinking alcohol or gambling.
Over the past decade, the central government has devolved more power to regional authorities to increase autonomy and speed up development.
Men and women have collapsed in pain due to the severity of their injuries and people can be caned for something as innocent as standing too close to a partner in public or being seen alone with someone they are not married to.
Another part of the directive – signed by the district head on August 5 – said women who were alone or not with family should not be served at restaurants and cafés after 9pm.
Three years ago, provincial capital Banda Aceh banned unaccompanied women from entertainment venues like cafes and sports halls after 11pm.
In 2013, Lhokseumawe city in Sumatra’s north ordered women to sit ‘side-saddle’ on motorbikes with their legs dangling off to one side.