Public Caning under Shariah Law in Aceh
Public caning CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images

Three unwed couples were publicly caned in Indonesia's religious Aceh province on 12 June for spending time alone together in violation of the province's strict Islamic laws.

The couples were canned between four to five times each with a rattan cane in a square in Banda Aceh, the capital of the province, Indonesia's national news agency Antara reported.

A fourth woman, a housewife in her 40s was given six lashes for committing adultery. One of the women, a 22-year-old woman who was canned four times, fainted and had to be carried off by officials.

"Hopefully those who are being caned will realise their mistakes and feel remorseful and repent to God so that they can become noble humans again," Ridwan, an official from the local Islamic sharia law office said before the caning, according to Agence France Presse (AFP)

Although public caning is a common punishment in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to implement Islamic sharia law, it is rare for women to be caned, AFP noted.

Indonesia's secular central government granted the province of Aceh the right to implement a version of Shariah law in 2006 as part of a peace deal to end a separatist war. The province has religious police and a religious court system in place.