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An executioner canes a woman who was found guilty of khalwat
  • Sharia law has been in force in Aceh since 2001,a semi-autonomous Indonesian province
  • Khalwat offences in Malaysia are committed when a man and a woman who are not family members, and when at least one of them is a Muslim, is accused of adultery

In the first such punishments meted out under expanded Islamic bylaws, a Muslim couple who committed adultery and a non-Muslim who sold liquor were caned dozens of times on Tuesday in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

The couple and a 60-year-old Christian woman, who had sold alcoholic beverages in the province where alcohol is banned, were among five people caned in front of local officials and a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators in Takengon, central Aceh, after being found guilty of violating Sharia bylaws known as Qanun Jinayat.

Convicted of having an affair, the couple each suffered 100 lashes – an unprecedented punishment by caning – since Aceh expanded the bylaws in October to include corporal punishment for acts related to adultery.

The Christian woman was lashed 28 times after being held in custody for 47 days, officials said.

When the regional House of Representatives voted to broaden the Qanun Jinayat six months ago, it also paved the way for non-Muslims to be exposed to possible punishments under Sharia law in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia that enforces the Islamic code.

Under the expanded laws, non-Muslims, including Indonesian and foreign tourists, can be prosecuted if caught committing adultery, rape and homosexual acts, among other violations of Sharia, and if Indonesia’s criminal code (KUHP) does not cover the alleged crime.

The updated bylaws set the punishment at 100 lashes for adulterers and homosexuals and 200 lashes for rapists of children.

Too close

Sharia law is so strict that a non-married couple cannot even be alone and in “close proximity” of each other. This crime is known as khalwat, and a man and woman each was caned three times on Tuesday after being convicted of this violation.

The canings of the five defendants took place outside the Arts and Sports Building in Takengon.

The town’s chief of Sharia police, whose name is Muslim, identified the couple that had committed adultery by the initials U.M.R. and F.T.M. The former is 42 years old and the latter is 30, and a Sharia court in Takengon had convicted them of adultery on March 11, Muslim told BenarNews.

He said a team of 10 officers were assigned to take turns lashing the five convicts.

Each officer gave 10 lashes to each of the two adulterers, and a medical team checked the man and woman after every 20 lashes of the cane.

According to eyewitnesses, some of the spectators yelled for the officers to whip the adulterers harder.

“The woman did not faint. She endured the lashes,” Muslim told Benar.

Convicted for adultery

Lili Suparli, who heads the intelligence division in the Takengon prosecutor’s office, said the canings occurred because neither of the two adulterers appealed their convictions.

“In the trial, both confessed, thus allowing the attorney to prosecute them without any witnesses,” Lili said.

Neither defendant was represented by an attorney at trial. Since caning was approved in Aceh in 2005, most defendants go to trial without legal representation.

U.M.R. and F.T.M. were arrested by civilians in a village in Central Aceh in January, then handed over to the local police for processing.

“They were captured when doing the misdeed. U.M.R. was a village head and F.T.M. is a widow,” Muslim said, adding that U.M.R. had seen been removed from office.

‘We reduced the penalty’

In the case of the Christian identified by the initials R.S., she was arrested at the end of last year on suspicion of selling liquor.

The Sharia court that convicted the woman decided to follow the prosecutor’s charge, which called for 30 lashes.

“We reduced the penalty to be 28 lashes, because she has been imprisoned for almost two months – equal to two lashes,” Lili said.

Lili confirmed that the number of Sharia violations in Aceh is increasing, especially cases involving Khalwat. (Copyright BenarNews)


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Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon said that the Pegasus snooping issue is India's internal matter.

Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon on Thursday said that the Pegasus snooping issue is India's internal matter.

The NSO is a private company and it has a license to sell its software to the government entities only, he added.

Gilon said: "This is an internal issue of India and I can't speak beyond this point. This is the only main requirement that... under the requirements, they cannot sell it to non-governmental actors".

Responding to a query if the Indian government will contact them, he said that he has no idea whether the Indian government has contacted them or not.

Referring to the explosion that took place last year near the Israeli embassy in Delhi, he said that the perpetrators are yet to be nabbed; however, the investigating agencies of both countries are cooperating with each other.

"We are thankful to the government of India for providing security to all embassy personnel," Gilon said.

Talking about the newly-formed quad with Israel, India, the US, and UAE, the Ambassador said it is totally an economic forum based on mutual cooperation among the participant countries.

"It has nothing to do with the military component as of now," he added.

Talking about Afghanistan, Gilon said that the country should not be used for extremism.

"There should not be any human rights violation and women and children should not suffer there", he commented.

Saying that Israel is a technologically sound country but it cannot go for industrial manufacturing, the partnership between India and Israel can work better for industrial productions.

Sharing the details of the recently-concluded visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he said that the visit was most successful in terms of bilateral relations.

Jaishankar met all important Ministers of the Israeli government and also met the Indian Diaspora, the Indian Jews who have recently settled there.

"It was a very warm visit, very friendly which I think emphasized the strategic partnership declared during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Israel. I think that the visit was in the spotlight of 30 years of diplomatic relations which we are going to celebrate on January 29 next year," Gilon added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Israel Politics, Indian Diaspora, Pegasus issues, Pegasus snooping issue, a partnership between India and Israel.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Sher Bahadur Deuba governmentrecommended veteran diplomat Shanker Sharma as the next ambassador to India.

The Sher Bahadur Deuba government on Thursday recommended veteran diplomat Shanker Sharma as the next ambassador to India.

Sharma earlier served as Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission and Nepal's Ambassador to the United States of America from 2009 to 2013.

The post in the New Delhi embassy of Nepal fell vacant recently after Deuba recalled the ambassadors from 12 countries including India. The outgoing ambassador, Nilamber Acharya has already returned to Kathmandu.

Sharma has extensive experience in government, international institutions, and economic research. Before joining the National Planning Commission as a member in 1997, he worked as a Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Nepal; a Senior Economist in the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore; and a Fellow in the East-West Center, Hawaii. He also served as a Professor of Economics in the Centre for Economic Development and Administration, Tribhuvan University.

He worked regionally and globally for many organizations, such as the UNESCAP, World Bank, and ASEAN. Sharma is close confident of Prime Minister Deuba. (IANS/JB)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 2022 will be celebrated as the friendship year for India and ASEAN countries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced that 2022 will be celebrated as the friendship year for India and ASEAN countries as both have completed 30 years of partnership.

The event will coincide with India's celebrations of the 75th year of Independence from the colonial regime, he added.

While participating in the 18th edition of the India-ASEAN Summit, Modi said, "India is committed to deepening its relations with the next presidency, Cambodia and country-coordinator Singapore."

"History is witness to the fact that India and ASEAN have had relations for thousands of years. India-ASEAN relations are reflected in everything, including in our shared values, traditions, languages, scriptures, architecture, culture, food," the Prime Minister noted.

Speaking about the Covid pandemic which engulfed the whole world, he further said that the Covid period was also a test of India-ASEAN friendship. "Our mutual ties in the Covid time will keep strengthening our corporations in future and form a base for goodwill between our people," Modi added.

He further said that the unity and centrality of ASEAN have always been a priority for India and history has witnessed the fact that "we have had ties since thousands of years," he said.

The Prime Minister also said that India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN's Outlook for the Indo-Pacific are the framework for their shared vision and mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

During the Summit, the head of the member states will review the progress of India and ASEAN Strategic Partnerships which was signed in 2012. They will also review the progress achieved in the sectors like Covid-19, health, trade and investment, connectivity, education among others, the officials of India's Ministry of External Affairs said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, and ASEAN partnership, COVID-19, India, and ASEAN, India, and history, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.