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Human rights groups fight Aceh stoning laws -

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Human rights groups fight Aceh stoning laws

Broadcast: 15/09/2009

Reporter: Gavin Fang

Human rights groups in Indonesia are calling for interventions to stop a law that would see
adulterers stoned to death in Aceh.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Human rights groups in Indonesia are demanding Jakarta intervene to overturn
a law in Aceh that would see adulterers stoned to death.

Under the Sharia-based crime bill, homosexuals and people caught drinking could also be caned.

ABC Indonesia correspondent Gavin Fang reports.

GAVIN FANG, REPORTER: Afternoon prayers in Aceh's capital Banda Aceh. In this deeply religious part
of Indonesia, Islamic teaching reaches far beyond the mosque doors into the very laws that govern
the province.

On Monday, the local Parliament passed a new Sharia-based crime bill that would make stoning to
death the punishment for adultery. Homosexuals, rapists and people caught gambling or drinking will
face 100 lashes with a cane.

ADNAN BEURANSYAH, PARTAI ACEH SPOKESMAN (written translation): The reason to implement this law,
for example the adultery law, is for deterrent effect for the perpetrator. It's clear, God said so.
And for the people who witness it, it's a lesson for them.

GAVIN FANG: The new laws are due to come into effect in Aceh in a month. Aceh has special autonomy,
but human rights groups say Jakarta can and should intervene to have the Sharia bill overturned.

RAFENDI DJAMIN, HUMAN RIGHTS WORKING GROUP: This by-law is introducing, legalising a very cruel
method of criminalising people which has a lot of possibility on the criminalisations of innocent
people, then the central Government should take a very firm actions.

GAVIN FANG: But Jakarta may not have to interfere. The Sharia Crime bill was one of the last acts
of Aceh's old Parliament and the political party, Partai Aceh, which will dominate the new
Parliament to be sworn in next month, says it may revise the legislation.

ADNAN BEURANSYAH, PARTAI ACEH SPOKESMAN (written translation): It's too soon for them to pass this
kind of law. Before they passed it they should introduce it to the people, so that they get input
from people and experts.

GAVIN FANG: Aceh's Governor is also believed to be against the law.

Gavin Fang, Lateline.