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Indonesian men caned for gay sex

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Religious police in Indonesia caned two men for gay sex on Tuesday, with hooded men inflicting 82 lashes on each of them as hundreds of people watched the punishment ordered by an Islamic court.

Cheers and applause went up from a crowd gathered outside a mosque in the city of Banda Aceh, capital of the conservative province of Aceh, as the masked men took turns to flog the pair on a raised platform.

The men stood quietly, their heads down, as spectators heckled them and shouted insults.

The punishment, condemned by rights groups, marked the first application of anti-homosexuality laws introduced in the province in 2014.

Aceh has long had a reputation as Indonesia’s most conservative region. It is the only province that criminalizes same-sex relations and that uses Islamic law as its legal code in addition to the national criminal code.

Up to 1,000 people, many filming with smartphones, watched as the two men received 82 lashes each. Many others watched the punishment being meted out on a livestream video.

Some in the crowd carried banners rejecting the presence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Aceh.

At least eight other men and women were caned for other offences ahead of the punishment of the two found guilty of having gay sex.

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