Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Aceh Province approves Islamic Shariah law bill

DPA , JAKARTA

Some Indonesians expressed dismay yesterday after the parliament in the staunchly Muslim province of Aceh approved an Islamic crime bill that allows ­stoning-to-death for adulterers.

The provincial legislative council on Monday adopted the bill by acclamation despite criticism by human rights groups opposed to some of its harsh provisions.

Under the new law, a married person convicted of committing adultery could be stoned to death, while an unmarried person would face up to 100 lashes, according to media reports.

Homosexual acts are punishable by 100 lashes or a maximum eight years in jail.

“The passing of the bill is a climax of legislative irrationality,” said Hendardi, executive director of the SETARA Institute, a human rights group.

Experts said the provision on adultery would be difficult to implement. Under Islam, it requires four witnesses who saw the alleged offender in the act to prove adultery has taken place.

“I guarantee the by-law respects the rights of suspected offenders since one cannot just accuse others of committing adultery, as one who levels a false accusation is to be lashed 80 times,” Bachrom Rasyid, who chaired a committee deliberating the bill, was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe daily.

Some Indonesians said stoning was a medieval form of punishment that has no place in the modern world.

“This law will make people afraid to visit Aceh. It’s medieval and stupid,” said Indah Sari, a Jakarta resident who said she was a devout Muslim.

The Aceh government, led by former separatist rebel Irwandi Yusuf, said it would not implement the law.

“It’s final that the Aceh administration would not enforce stoning for Islamic Shariah violators,” Aceh deputy governor Muhammad Nazar was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post daily. “In Islam, the law must protect its citizens’ human rights.”

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