Man responsible for public floggings gets public flogging
The man behind Indonesia's flogging laws has been publicly whipped himself after he was caught romping with a married woman.
Aceh Ulema Council (MPU) member Mukhlis helped draft the strict religious laws ordering adulterers to be flogged and faced the punishment himself when he was beaten 28 times with a rattan cane on Thursday.
Photos reveal Mukhlis grimacing and flinching during the ordeal in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, which is controlled by sharia law.
Aceh Besar deputy regent Husaini Wahab said that flogging a council member underlined the commitment to enforcing Islamic law.
He told reporters: "No matter who you are … if you violate (Islamic) law you will be whipped".
Mukhlis would likely be sacked under his employer's moral code, Wahab added.
The married woman was also flogged about 23 times as she knelt on the floor covered by a white cloth.
Flogging is used as a common punishment in the deeply conservative Aceh region on Indonesia's Sumatra island.
Aceh is the only province in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law.
The law was adopted in 2001 as part of a deal with the central government.
Suspects can be flogged for a range of offences including gambling, drinking alcohol, having gay sex, engaging in sex before marriage, or having an extramarital relationship.
Around 98 per cent of Aceh's five million residents are Muslims and subject to its religious laws.
Rights groups have slammed public flogging as an inhuman punishment, and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has called for it to end.
But the practice has wide support among Aceh's mostly Muslim population and is meant to deter others from "violating sharia law".
The head of the local public order agency, Marwan, who like many Indonesian goes by one name, said: "This law is designed to have a deterrent effect, not only for the offenders but for the spectators who watch the caning."
He added: "The pain of being flogged is not that bad, the embarrassment is worse."
Earlier this year unmarried couples were brutally whipped in public after being caught cuddling, holding hands and having sex.
Five couples received up to 22 strokes each outside a mosque in Banda Aceh - after already serving months inside prison.
The punishments were meted out by a masked 'religious officer' - in front of a crowd containing kids - using a rattan cane.
Religious police had allegedly caught them cuddling, holding hands or, in some cases, having sex outside marriage.
And in November last year a woman was caned for allegedly having sex outside marriage in the region while cheering crowds looked on.
The same thing had happened in September, as another woman was lead on stage to be publicly whipped.
A female university student was also flogged a dozen times after she was caught spending the night in a boarding house with a man, who escaped punishment because he was underage.
Dozens of onlookers often watch the floggings, with some recording them on their mobile phones.
In January, a Indonesian Christian was flogged for selling alcohol in the province at the tip of Sumatra island.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and is reproduced here with permission