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Five gamblers caned in Aceh, 15 more don't show
Jakarta Globe - March 10, 2012
Aceh adopted partial Shariah law in 2001 as part of an autonomy agreement aimed at quelling separatist sentiment. The province's autonomous status made possible its legislature's decision to pass laws legalizing corporal punishments considered human rights abuses elsewhere, such as caning.
Friday's punishment meted out to the men is the first incident of caning this year. Putra Masduri, the head of the Langsa prosecutor's office, said the caning took place in Langsa, eastern Aceh, at 3:30p.m.
"The men were involved in various parts of the gambling operation," he said. "Some were writing down the winning [lottery] numbers and others were selling tickets."
The sentence for the five men was handed down earlier in the day by the Langsa Shariah court after they were found guilty of gambling. The defendants were not accompanied by a lawyer during the sentencing.
"The defendants were quick to accept the sentence because they wanted to get this over with quickly," Putra said. "They voiced regret for gambling and vowed it would not happen again." The five were arrested for gambling in January.
Another 15 people were scheduled to be caned on the same day, but did not turn up. Putra said that under Aceh's Shariah law, authorities are not allowed to detain suspects, so sentences are carried out quickly. This means that if those found guilty do not turn up for sentencing, there is not much the authorities can do.
"The 15 people are required to report to authorities next week and hopefully they will voluntarily come in to be sentenced and caned," Putra said.