Gay couple caught by locals in Banda Aceh face punishment of 100 lashes

CNN Indonesia – November 14, 2020
Gay man being publically flogged outside mosque in Banda Aceh – May 23, 2017 (VOA Indonesia)

Banda Aceh – Residents of Kuta Alam in the Acehnese provincial capital of Aceh have caught a gay couple having same-sex relations at a boarding house. The possible existence of a wider gay community is also being investigated.

The head of the Banda Aceh city Public Order Agency's (Satpol PP) Islamic Law division and the Islamic police (Wilayatul Hisbah, WH), Safriadi, said that the two people, MU (27) and AL (28), were caught unawares after the owner of a boarding house became suspicious of a male guest who often visited MU's room.

The boarding house owner then asked local people to raid the room. "When the room was raided MU and AS were having intimate relations, then local people asked us (Satpol PP and the WH) to take them [into custody]", Safriadi told CNN Indonesia on Saturday November 14.

Based on the results of an examination of the two, MU had repeatedly had same-sex relations with different people and was even said to have sought other men out through social media.

"From the initial investigation they confessed to having a homosexual relationship. MU even [admitted] to doing this often", he said.

Public Order Agency officials and the Wilayatul Hisbah are currently investigating the possibility of the existence of a gay community which it is suspected has begun to emerge in Banda Aceh. "This is what we're currently investigating. The possibility of its existence [a gay community]", he said.

MU and AS will be charged under Article 63 of the Islamic Criminal Code (Qanun Jinayat) on homosexuality and face a punishment of 100 lashes. Nationally, same-sex relations in Indonesia are not a crime and the Criminal Code (KUHP) only prosecutes acts of indecency for underage children. (dra/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pasangan LGBT Digerebek Warga Aceh, Terancam 100 Kali Cambuk".]