A 20-year-old Muslim woman in the Indonesian province of Banda Aceh has been caned for being "too close" to her boyfriend. It is believed the punishment was handed down as the couple's behaviour was in violation of Sharia law, news agency AFP reported.

It is not yet clear whether the caning was public and whether the woman's boyfriend was also subjected to the corporal punishment.

Similar sentences have been handed down to men and women in the Muslim-majority Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to have implemented Sharia law in full since it was granted special autonomy in 2001.

Earlier in October, another woman was caned in front of a cheering crowd. She was one of 13 people – seven men and six women aged between 21 and 30 – who were punished for violating laws that ban public display of intimacy among unwed couples.

In 2015, a district in Aceh invoked a bylaw requiring separate school facilities for boys and girls, while another city in the region barred female passengers from riding a motorcycle with a male driver.

Indonesia public caning
A 20-year old Muslim woman is brought for public caning after being caught in close proximity with her boyfriend in Banda Aceh Chaideer Mahyuddin/ AFP

In 2014, the government in Aceh approved a law obliging every citizen to follow the Sharia Islamic legal code regardless of their religion. Councillor Abdulah Saleh said at the time that the new behaviour law, or qanun jinayat, "does indeed oblige everyone in Aceh to follow Sharia without exception."

He added that non-Muslim violators of Indonesia's national ciminal code (KUHP) would be given the option to choose between a Sharia court or a regular court - but both courts would adhere to Islamic legislation.