A new law mandating death by stoning for adulterers in Indonesia’s
deeply Islamic Aceh province advocates “torture” and should be
overturned, US-based group Human Rights Watch said Monday.
“Stoning and flogging constitute torture in any circumstances,” Human Rights Watch Asia head Elaine Pearson said in a statement.
“Imposing these draconian punishments on private, consensual conduct means the government can dictate people’s intimate lives.”
law — which also allows punishments of up to 400 lashes for child
rape, 100 lashes for homosexual acts and 60 lashes for gambling — was
passed unanimously last month by lawmakers in the staunchly Islamic
It has yet to be approved by the provincial governor and is opposed by the central government in Jakarta.
The law, based on local interpretations of Islamic or sharia law, is supposed to replace elements of Indonesia’s criminal code.
It allows the death penalty for a married person and 100 lashes for an unmarried person found guilty of adultery.
Human Rights Watch urged the central government and a new incoming local parliament in Aceh to overturn the law.
foreign ministry spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, told AFP the law would not
come into effect without the approval of Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf,
who has stated his opposition to the law.
“Even if local
government approves it, if the central government thinks it’s not in
line with national law, the central government can ask it to overturn
or annul the law,” he said.
“The central government wants to make
it clear that the law and legislation at the provincial level should
not in any way contradict the law and legislation promulgated at the
Aceh had previously adopted a milder form of
sharia law in 2001 as part of an autonomy package from Jakarta aimed at
quelling separatist sentiment.
Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s
234 million people are Muslim, but the country also has significant
Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Confucian minorities. Most local Muslims
practise a moderate form of the religion.