A woman being publicly flogged in Aceh. Photo: YouTube

A number of women in the Sharia-ran autonomous region of Aceh in Indonesia were left unable to walk after being publicly whipped.

On March 4, a total of 12 people were publicly flogged as punishment after they were caught in a hotel raid in Banda Aceh several months ago, the Express reported. All 12 had spent several months in prison before they were whipped in public.

Four of the 12 were given seven lashes for the crime of being found in a room with a person of the opposite sex who was not a relative. The others were given 17 to 25 lashes for “having intimate extramarital relations.”

Two women had to be carried from the scene after the whipping.

The head of the local public order agency, Marwan, said the law was made to deter offenders and spectators who witnessed the whippings. President Joko Widodo has publicly criticized the method of punishment, but it is widely supported in Aceh, where it is enforced.

Aceh is the only region in Indonesia that can legally adopt bylaws derived from the Islamic law of Sharia. The bylaws are enforced on both Muslims and non-Muslim residents. Human rights activists have criticized the bylaw system, arguing that the bylaws violate commitments to the universal principles of human rights.

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