A Christian man was publicly beaten with a rattan stick at least 36 times in Indonesia for allegedly selling alcohol, which is considered a violation of the Islamic Sharia law.
Jono Simbolon was whipped on Friday, 19 January, in front of a large cheering crowd, making him the third non-Muslim in the country to suffer a public flogging. He was forced to kneel as a masked man whipped him repeatedly outside a mosque in Aceh, Indonesia's only province to enact Sharia law.
Simbolon, who was arrested in October 2017, allegedly "bowed to" the local law – commonly known as Qanun – and as a result he was sentenced to public lashing. He was seen doubling over in agony as the masked man brutally whipped him. It was reported that after 10 canings, a doctor had to check on him before allowing further beatings.
Chief prosecutor Erwin Desman said that being a non-Muslim, Simbolon always had a choice to be prosecuted under national or religious law. He added that the Christian man may have chosen a public beating to avoid a lengthy criminal prosecution, the Daily Mail reported.
Aceh situated on Sumatra Island began implementing Islamic law after it was granted special autonomy in 2001. Simbolon was among 10 people – eight men and two women – to be whipped on Friday.
Banda Aceh mayor Aminullah Usman, said: "This is our government's commitment to enforcing Islamic law. If there is a violation of the law, immediately report it to the Sharia police and we will carry out a punishment like today's caning."
The incident happened months after a woman charged with adultery under sharia law was whipped at least 100 times as a punishment.
The 30-year-old woman was caned in public for allegedly being in a room with a man she was not married to in September 2017. The 34-year-old man reportedly involved with the woman also received 100 lashes.