One of the gay men being caned in Aceh. Photo: (Rakyat Aceh/Jawapos.com)
Indonesia’s most conservative province, Aceh, has been the epicentre of vigilante justice against the LGBTI community.
Trans women have been targeted multiple times, simply for existing in the province.
Aceh is the only province that has special rights to practice Sharia Law.
The latest incident involved a trans woman working in a hair salon, identified as N. A man known as M visited her at the salon, but then the angry mob invaded the shop accusing them of engaging in sex work on Monday night (12 March).
Locals in the capital, Banda Aceh, accused M of paying IDR100,000 (US$7.28) for N’s sexual services.
Vigilantes handed them over to local police who said they would investigate the pair. They face charges of homosexuality because Aceh does not recognize transgenderism. The could also face charges as an unmarried couple spending time alone together in a private space.
The head of the Islamic Sharia Enforcement Department said police turned the pair over to them.
‘They were handed to the police at first and then they were taken to us,’ Evendi A. Latif told Detik.
‘If by qanun (religious law) they are proven guilty then they will be punished, in accordance to Article 26 Verse 1 regarding khalwat (an unwed couple spending time alone together), with 100 lashes.’
Aceh is the only province in the mainly Muslim Indonesia that has special permission to rule with Sharia Law.
Only in Aceh are things like alcohol, homosexuality and premarital sex illegal.
Aceh has been a leader in the crackdown on the LGBTI community happening in Indonesia.
Last year it became the first place in Indonesia to enforce a conviction and caning homosexuality after vigilantes raided the home of two men.
In December last year, vigilantes followed a group of trans women after they left a birthday party and police detained them overnight.
Earlier this year the shocking case of 12 trans women who were rounded up from five different hair salons on a Saturday night. Police paraded them in a public area, forcibly shaved their heads and forced to ‘act like men’.
Police then detained them and forced them to undergo training to live ‘like men again’.
In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta the government has made it policy to round up trans women for being ‘social misfits’.