Aceh Rape Victim to Be Caned, Shariah Official Insists

A masked and hooded person canes Indonesian food seller Murni Amris for violating Shariah law outside a mosque in Jantho, Aceh, in this October 1, 2010 file photo. (AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

A masked and hooded person canes a woman in Aceh for selling food during Ramadan. A woman who was gang raped last week faces the indignity of a public caning for having extramarital sex. (AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

[Updated at 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7, 2014]

Banda Aceh. A woman in Aceh who was gang raped last week after being accused of having extramarital sex now faces the indignity of a public caning for the offense of having an affair.

“We want the couple to be caned because they violated the religious bylaw on sexual relations,” Ibrahim Latif, the head of the Shariah office in the eastern town of Langsa, said of the woman and her companion, a 40-year-old married man, who were raided by a group of men last Wednesday night at the woman’s home.

The woman was raped by the eight vigilantes, three of whom have since been arrested. Her companion was tied up and beaten. The pair were also doused with sewage by the attackers, who later took them to the Shariah police, or Wilayatul Hisbah.

Ibrahim said the fact that the woman had been raped would not be taken into consideration in determining the punishment for the religious crime that she was accused of committing.

“They have to be [caned] as a form of justice because the rapists will also be processed, but in a criminal court,” he said. “Besides, they’ve confessed to having sex on several previous occasions, even though the man is married and has five children.”

Langsa Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hariadi and the chief of detectives Adj. Comr. M. Firdaus were not immediately available for comment.

Under the partial Shariah exercised in Aceh, the woman and her companion face up to nine strokes of the cane each. The rapists would have faced the same number of lashes had they been dragged through the Shariah process.

Three of them, including a 13-year-old boy, have been arrested by police, who are still hunting for the five others.

They are accused of gang raping the woman after barging into her house late last Wednesday and accusing her of having illegal sexual relations with the man.

After assaulting the man and raping the woman, they marched the pair to the Shariah police. It was only during their interrogation of the victim that officers found out she had been raped.

‘Harsher punishments’

An official from Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Islamic organization, has backed the call to cane the couple, but says the rapists must also face Shariah charges in addition to criminal ones.

Teungku Faisal Ali, the head of the NU’s Aceh chapter, told the Jakarta Globe that “the punishment for the mob that raped the victim must be much harsher because they have set back efforts to uphold Shariah in Aceh.”

He also urged residents to leave Shariah enforcement up to the WH and not enforce the regulations themselves.

“If anyone sees any violation of Shariah, they must report it to the Shariah police, in accordance with the prevailing standards and procedures,” Faisal said.

He bemoaned what he called the increasing prevalence of mob violence in Aceh, particularly against those accused of Shariah violations.

This is not the first case in Aceh of a rape being committed against a woman accused of inappropriate conduct with an unrelated male.

A 20-year-old university student was raped by three Shariah police officers in Langsa in January 2010 after being caught riding on a motorcycle with her boyfriend.

The town’s Shariah police chief, Syahril, was subsequently fired and two of the perpetrators were later sentenced to serve eight years in prison each. The third perpetrator has not been caught.

Different laws

Ismail Hasani, a scholar at Jakarta’s Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, said that the Shariah law system in Aceh had long been a subject of fierce debate.

“When we talk about law in Aceh, we talk about three different systems that are not clearly delineated: common law, Shariah law and national law. There is no boundary,” he said. “Looking at this case, based on common law, the woman, even though she is a victim, still has to accept punishment. But when we take the national law perspective, she primarily is a victim who needs protection.”

Ismail, who is a program manager at the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, said that Aceh’s Shariah law system was dangerous in the sense that it had lead to victim blaming.

He said it was unjust to view the woman only as a suspected adulterer after what she had been through.

“This is also a case of rape. She has rights,” he said. “This is hypocrisy which is fostered continuously by Acehnese elites with a political view of Islam.

“Sure, the law has to be enforced, but a punishment like caning is excessive…. The punishment is imposed based on sexual imagination instead of legal facts,” he said. “Historically, caning in Islam is implemented strictly based on strong evidence. But in Aceh, it is done arbitrarily. The enforcement of the Shariah law is done based on prejudice and even for political reasons.”

Central government’s role

Arimbi Heroepoetri of the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) said the difference between rape and adultery should be made clear.

“And law enforcers must understand that the woman, as a gang-rape victim, must be traumatized,” she said. “The rape case must be prioritized. This issue of sexual abuse is urgent. They cannot leave the problem unsolved for too long.”

She said that the survivor needed healing, not punishment.

“She cannot just be caned right after being raped by eight men,” she said.

Ismail said that the unfair implementation of Shariah law could lead to widespread legal discrimination.

“There has to be a clear stance from the central government. We should not see the special autonomy of Aceh [which allows it to implement partial Shariah law] as special autonomy without boundaries,” he said. “Not every citizen in Aceh agrees with the current legal system. Some of them are being repressed by the law. So there has to be a debate among citizens and with the regional government in order to formulate a more humane Islamic law.

“We have to remember that justice is everyone’s right, and it is not happening at the moment in Aceh.”

  • human2

    This archaic cancer needs to be cut from the planet. The original crime of adultery is an act committed by two consenting adults and therefore no crime in my eyes. To punish a victim of rape as though she were the one committing a crime is sick and perverted beyond belief. It’s article after article from countries in every corner of the globe mounting more and more evidence against the fictional phrase “the religion of peace”.
    I would suggest every woman living in Aceh migrate as soon as possible because you rights, your human rights are being slowly deleted one by one. Good luck to those who stay. One things for sure I can’t see international tourists lining up to see this barbarism at work…

  • brit

    “A 20-year-old university student was raped by three Shariah police officers”- shame for all Shariah law and everybody following Shariah law, Shariah law officers commits same crimes, for which simple people are punished for no reason and offenders get away with their real crimes.
    It is just one more proof that Shariah law not worth respect.

  • Pga

    Another reason of why sharia goverment in aceh must be reconsidered!!!

  • craig david

    Sicker than the average

  • jojakarta

    Congratulations Atjeh. You should be proud of your heavenly law and taste your own medicine. In the mean time let other enjoy their life outside your religious teritory no matter how sinful and unreligious it may be.

  • ProudToBeIndonesian

    With Shariah law, when women are RAPED, they must be PUNISHED too! Revolting!

  • devine

    … speechless…

  • Sam Jackson

    This is sick — welcome to medieval!

    • lolipedofin

      That would be an insult to medieval era!

  • jojakarta

    Aceh shall now be proud of their law. I wonder if this a “taste your own medicine” or “insult to injury” situation. Aceh have decided to choose their own law. It is enough for rest of Indonesia to watch and draw a lesson.

  • way-ang

    If it wasn’t so miserably sad, it would be laughable. The whole world is, and should rightly ridicule our hopeless nation today. Whether we like it or not, Aceh is part of Indonesia, and it reflects the barbaric, soulless, and evil elements within our society.

  • PakLe

    I feel sick. This is grotesque

  • Nina

    Women in Aceh are not treated as human. They are second class residents. No matter what their religion say how full-of-dignity a woman is, it’s all nonsense. Absence of morality.

  • Yoga S Wirasmoyo

    Welcome to the stone age…where modern dog’s social rules are better than human

  • maliurj

    No one that lacks knowledge has the right to judge the religion of Al Islam. Please refer to the article…Crime and Punishment in Islam!

  • Shinta Nurdiana

    I agree with you….

  • Zell

    rapists acting as a ‘law enforcer’??
    those neanderthals should be punished too!
    shame on them using Islam to satisfy their animal instict.
    Utter BS

  • Ian Thomson

    If any male rapist is married, is he caned ? If not, why not?
    What happens to an official caught having sex outside his marriage?
    Or is Shariah Law a case of ,”Do asI say, Not as I do.”?

    • Ivan Julius

      have you read???

  • sinwi

    Ignorant, Muslim brotherhood is not the same as PKS and FPI and they are being crushed not because their religious stance. Also quite likely Indonesia under SBY is still more secular than Egipt under El Sisi.

  • orangesunshyne

    Sheer ignorance.

  • Darks

    If Sharia Law is bad why don’t you like it?

  • mny

    your law who made??? why your people breaking it??? that funny or not..

  • mny

    u all are brainwashed to. coz all what islam people doing all wrong.

  • mny

    who u ???

  • mny

    who made your law? why your people breaking it? why why why

  • Wong Edan

    No point in adding more fairy tales to this horror story. Please take your superstitions elsewhere. You are part of the problem.

  • RationalFearOfTerror

    The reason you will see civil war is because in the same space and time you can never separate Church and State as the cultural foundation codex (textual (religious and/or secular) and exemplar (messianic) templates) inform the nature of the State not the otherway round.

    As the religious is overriding Democratic secular notions of State anyone interested in liberty is going to find it becomes harder to find.

    If you have a genocidal and/or misogynistic construct anywhere in a cultural codex religious or secular it will be reflected in the resultant culture behavioral variance and with it the behavior of the State it creates. You allow such constructs into the Public Square what do you expect to happen peace and harmony.

    We are seeing this now in Supreme Court of the United States where religious prayers (Christian) being allowed back into public venues. Cultural wars have in reality no truce point they are ongoing. You think you have moved on think again -eternal vigilance was not stated for no good reason.

    Change the Architect and Builder or Change Nothing – diametrically opposed ethical constructs of Other as with slavery in the US 1861 cannot survive at the same time in the same space.

    Why do any number of so called moderate adherents to such a construct make absolutely no difference. It is because the moderates take what they want from the codex and claim peace on earth whilst from exactly the same codex extremists take what they want from the exact same codex and determine death to Other. Both claim to have the true interpretation and they are both right – it does not change the outcome.

    Also it has been shown extremists in a culture have a disproportional effect upon the group ethical mean – so claims of only 5-10% extremists and therefore Others fears are a phobia really needs to be treated with contempt. It does not stop the broken bodies and lives.

    “Communities (cultures) tend to be guided less than individuals by conscience and a sense of responsibility. How much misery does this fact cause mankind! It is the source of wars and every kind of oppression, which fill the earth with pain, sighs and bitterness.” (Albert Einstein, 1934)

  • Julius Hadyanto

    For your Information , Aceh is only a small part of Indonesia with a long history of war, violence and disaster.
    Aceh have it own rebellion force called GAM , Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Aceh Freedom Movement). A violent movement with ideology of making its own Religious Republic; which eventually forced Indonesian government to embrace them rather than to oppose them and led to the creation of ACEH as one of the “Specialized” province in Indonesia.

    The only Province in Indonesia that legally implement the Sharia Law.

    This news / issue also stir up the Internal battle among Indonesian. You see, Indonesia People not only consisted of Muslim, there also Christian , Catholic, Buddhism , and Hinduism; not to mention the variety of races / descendant itself.

    and for us (the minorities), we against the implementation of Sharia Law itself, seeing how flaw the product is, and how oppressive it is to the minorities.

    all i ask you, please do not generalize Indonesian. Gotta admit that these kind of case really happened in this country (and it is both shameful and enraging for us), but not all of the Indonesian behave like “that” neanderthal (i think that kind of name-calling is too soft for them). There are a lot of elements of society in Indonesia , and as you already know, the loudest is usually the most stupid of all.

    There are a lot of good people in Indonesia too, People with common sense and conscience , regardless of their belief.

  • kamarasune

    There is everything wrong with it because it doesn’t take into consideration that she was already violated, and abused by eight strangers.

  • mauriceg

    If sharia is not sharia what is it? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

  • mauriceg

    That’s right. All that is need for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. Let’s face it, the present government has made it pretty clear, through its proxies, the MUI, FPI, TNI, the police, wet agents etc, that being seen or heard to be complaining will result in bad things happening, and they surely do.

  • mauriceg

    Oh really, and you know this how?

  • mauriceg

    Please translate that for us, into English

  • mrlogic

    So what?

  • Quranist

    Koranic law versus Sharia law – two different Islams

    16:82 But if they turn away from you, your only duty is a clear delivery of the Message

    4:79-80 Say: ‘Whatever good betides you is from God and whatever evil betides you is from your own self and that We
    have sent you to mankind only as a messenger and all sufficing is God
    as witness. Whoso obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys God. And for
    those who turn away, We have not sent you as a keeper.”

    17:53-54 And tell my servants that they should speak in a most kindly
    manner. Verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men;
    for verily; Satan is mans foe…. Hence, we have not sent you with power to determine their Faith

    24.54. Say: “Obey God, and obey the Messenger, but
    if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and
    ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right
    guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to preach the clear (Message).

    88:21 22; And so, exhort them your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.

    42:6 48 And whoso takes for patrons others besides God, over them does
    God keep a watch. Mark, you are not a keeper over them. But if they turn
    aside from you (do not get disheartened), for We have not sent you to be a keeper over them; your task is but to preach

    64:12 Obey God then and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away (no blame shall attach to our Messenger), for the duty of Our Messenger is just to deliver the message.

    28.55-56 And when they hear vain talk, they turn away there from and
    say: “To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not
    the ignorant,” It is true thou wilt not be able to
    guide whom thou lovest; but God guides those whom He will and He knows
    best those who receive guidance

    39:41 Assuredly, We have sent down the Book to you in right form for the
    good of man. Whoso guided himself by it does so to his own advantage, and whoso turns away from it does so at his own loss. You certainly are not their keeper.

    67:25 26 And they ask, “When shall the promise be fulfilled if you speak
    the Truth?” Say, “The knowledge of it is verily with God alone, and verily I am but a plain warner.”

    As we can clearly see, many of the verses that talks about obeying the
    prophet also emphasizes the prophet’s limited authority, something that
    the Islamic sects do not recognize. The ruler to them has the authority
    to punish people for what they consider sins like drinking alcohol,
    eating pork, not fasting Ramadan, watching pornos etc.

    The Koran meanwhile focuses on crimes against another like stealing,
    killing, slandering of women falsely and oppression. It gave the
    believers the right to fight against those who fight them but not to
    transgress. It also gave people the right to defend themselves against
    evictions from their lands. There is no talk about punishing people for
    something that does not concern somebody else’s right.

    Adultery is the only place where the Koran diverted from this due to the
    fact that a adultery affects another party. Here the Koran sees
    adultery as affecting the other partner in a marriage. It’s a betrayal
    and a breaking of oath. But even then it placed strict standards on that
    but was lenient when it came to punishing slanders of women. Adultery
    needs four witnesses but the slander can get punished just from opening
    his mouth without four witnesses. It’s clear that the verse made it very
    difficult to implement on adultery but very easy to implement on the
    slanderer. Further reading of the verse about the Zani and Zania shows
    us that the issue came up concerning slandering of one of the prophet’s
    wife presumably. But adultery still affects another party as its a
    breaking of an oath between a man and a woman and is an act of betrayal.

    The Koran cannot order the prophet to punish people for sins, that God’s
    job. The Koran gave people the right and freedom to disbelieve let
    alone sin. Plus how the Koran understands sins is very different than
    how the sects understand sins.

    In the end the sects had no choice but to abrogate many of these verses,
    usually invoking the “sword verse”. They claim that many of these
    verses that gave the prophet limited authority(over those who chose to
    disobey him) has been abrogated by verse 9-5 or verse 9-29.

    However these verses were about the wars with the pagans, and verse 9-13
    and many other verses makes it clear who instigated these battles and
    why. The Jizya verse (9-29) also was claimed by the sects to be a tax to
    be paid by non Muslims in an Islamic state for protection. However
    Jizya never came concerning the Medina community where the prophet and
    his followers had a community. And only came upon the believers entering
    of Mecca. Jizya could have easily been compensation for the loss of
    property and homes that the believers suffered after being forced into
    exile. The Koran forbade prophets from seeking any form of reward. They
    can however accept charity on behalf of the believers.

    But the Sunnah claimed otherwise. In it the prophet was ordered to fight
    the people till they acknowledge monotheism and also in it the prophet
    ordered the execution of those who apostate. That’s why they abrogated
    many of the verses that limited his authority. Then they simply
    transferred that authority to the Muslim ruler by default. Rather than
    question the hadiths that contradicts the Quran, they abrogated any
    Quranic verses that contradicted the hadiths. The Ridda war story about
    Abu Bakr is a case study of this. In that story Abu Bakr apparently
    fought people for not paying Zakat. Now the authority (to force people
    to follow Islam and its commands) was transferred from God to the
    prophet to one of his companions. This made it very easy to then
    transfer that authority to the ruler. This is why you see places where
    Shariah law is implemented filled with such concepts like searching cars
    for alcohol or flogging people for watching pornos or not wearing
    proper attire. None of this should concern anyone but it has become a
    punishable sin. According to these sects, God only punishes those who
    did not get caught and punished in this world. The sects claimed that
    once punished the sin falls away and disappears. You will not find such a
    concept in the Koran. There God punishes in a million ways and does not
    need humans to punish for him. I think the sects introduced this
    concept to make people more accepting of this by making them think its
    better for them since God’s punishment is more severe. They also
    introduced stoning the adulterer by claiming the Zina verse in the Koran
    is concerning fornification and not adultery. They claimed that the
    verse about stoning was lost and is not included in the Koran but the
    ruling remains.

    This of course violated not only the freedom aspect of the Koran but
    also an eye for an eye and a life for a life. In the Koran, any
    punishment must be reciprocal and proportionate to the crime and it also
    must be targeted towards the actual perpetrators of the crime and not
    someone else associated to the criminal as the case with tribal laws
    that simply targets anyone from that tribe. They broke this by lower the
    bar for executions. Some Sunni scholars also gave the authority to
    execute homosexuals and enslave female prisoners and execute male
    prisoners. Something the Koran forbade. The Koran gave two options for
    prisoners, either freedom or ransom of some sort. They gave this
    authority to the ruler where he can either let a prisoner go free or
    order his execution. By creating stories about the prophet, they now can
    transfer that authority to the Muslim ruler by default. Throughtout
    Islam’s history, Sultans have invaded other territories and imposed
    taxes and traded in slavery claiming that this is the Sunnah and
    Shariah. This is all very sad as the taking of someone’s life is no easy
    matter in the Koran. God should take life and not humans, but if a
    person takes a life then he lost his right to live, but even then the
    Koran gave exile from the community as another option for murder
    especially if the person shows repentance. So an eye for an eye and a
    tooth for tooth somehow ended up being an eye for an eye lash and a
    tooth for a jaw. A good example of that is how the sects believe that
    those who steal should have their hand amputated sometimes for as little
    as ten dinars. A hand for a hand (proportional justice) became a hand
    for ten dinars (disproportionate justice).

  • Anon

    Inculcating Fear is the main theme of the religion man! How will you hear a voice then

  • Groobs

    Sharia is and will always be as stupid and useless as the day it was conceived… Kinda like islam…

  • my2cents4today

    Wait isn’t it alright for a man to have as many wives as he can afford in Islam? What if a lady wants more husbands? Oops wait doesn’t work that way does it? Why? Because some power tripping fanatical self righteous men made the rules! Not God. It’s not a higher power making rules, it’s human beings who are flawed intolerant judgmental men! Individuals can sort out their own transgressions with God. Leave them to their own communication with God. Man should butt out and look after his own life and behavior.
    We’re talking about sex, not murder, not robbery, not committing violence. It’s not anyone’s business if the lady and gentleman had sex. married or not married. If their spouses wants to complain and get a divorce, it’s understandable but that’s the extent of the repercussion. Rape is a violent criminal act. The rapists are criminals. The women should be protected and have a safe place to heal and recover. This is of course in a society where people stop trying to play God about how people conduct their private personal adult lives. What a nightmare of society this place Aceh is. Like hell on earth.

  • mauriceg

    One has to be very careful about whom one thinks one is talking to in these posts. The moniker’ sonny’ is amusing, as I am likely to be older than you. Trust me, I have made a lifelong comparison study of religions, and you should know, that as a Jew i have plenty reason to be extremely unkind to the practitioners of Christianity over the past 2,000 years or so. Which doesn’t excuse Islam and Shariah as a special case of terrifying, brutal criminal malevolence in the 21st century. So don’t be naive about about what others know about your faith. There is no special pleading here.

    • Eri

      Well, Maurice, boy, if you are older than I, it can’t be with much ! Don’t try to command rspect now, that has to be earned, as you already knew.
      Many people have critisized me for my faith or religion or whatever. No luck ! Not many peopel have an open mind to understand. Interestingly a took a Muslim to come up with the right name; he said I was a ‘self-thinker’ (pikir sendiri !). I have always been grateful to my parents for NOT bringing me up with religion !
      Sorry, ol’ man, for stepping om your toes, I meant no harm !

      Eri.

  • mauriceg

    What do you mean ‘..shariah law should distinguish the difference between a rape and an affair’.. If shariah law is as claimed, god-given, then by definition, it is perfection itself, and requires no further cooking. If it is man-made, as most sensible people would argue, it is nasty, brutal, sadistic, and abusive. It also involves people being encouraged to spy on their relatives, neighbours, friends etc.
    Given a choice where human beings can breathe, feel, create, write, and develop themselves, and contrast this with a nasty, brutish, suppression of the human spirit in shariah areas.
    If people were given a free vote, guess what they would choose?