Hundreds of spectators gathered outside a mosque in Banda-Aceh, as five unmarried couples got whipped by a masked sharia officer.
Couples received the punishment of four to 22 strokes by a rattan cane for behaving "amorously," which is a crime under the sharia law in Indonesia's Aceh province.
Aceh, situated at the tip of Sumatra Island, is the only province that imposes Islamic law.
Sharia, a religious law, has been a part of Islamic traditions since long.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, UAE, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Mauritania apply sharia law predominantly or entirely.
In Aceh, the religious police caught the couples cuddling, holding hands and in some cases, having sex outside marriage, all of which are considered crimes under the province's Islamic law.
Apart from such 'amorous' activities, alcohol consumption, having gay sex/relationship and gambling are also punishable in Aceh.
Coming back to the couples, they winced in pain while being flogged, which was being witnessed by hundreds, including children.
However, this wasn't the only punishment the couples received. They had previously served prison time.
Notably, flogging is a common punishment under the barbaric laws in Aceh.
Meanwhile, Joko Widodo, Indonesia's President and human rights groups have bashed this cruel practice.
However, this system is widely supported in Aceh region. Last year, authorities banned unmarried couples from sitting at the same table in public places like cafes or restaurants.
Safriadi, a religious officer, said, "We hope in the future there will be no more cases like this. It's embarrassing."
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