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January 20, 2018

An Indonesian is flogged outside of a mosque on January 19, 2018

An Indonesian Christian was publicly flogged on Friday for selling alcohol in conservative Aceh province, a violation of Islamic law, as a crowd of onlookers including children jeered.

Jono Simbolon grimaced in pain when a masked religious officer lashed his back with a rattan stick on a makeshift stage outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

He is only the third non-Muslim to suffer a public whipping since Aceh, on Sumatra island, began implementing Islamic law after it was granted special autonomy in 2001 - an attempt by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

"This is our government's commitment to enforcing Islamic law," said Banda Aceh mayor Aminullah Usman.

"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," he said, referring to religious authorities.

A doctor checked on Simbolon's condition after 10 strokes before the flogging continued.

He was one of 10 people - eight men and two women - caned after Friday prayers for offences including pimping, prostitution, and gambling.

One unmarried couple received 20 strokes each for being too physically close to each other - seen as a prelude to banned pre-marital sex.

Simbolon was arrested in October and sentenced to 36 lashes for selling illegal alcohol.

About 98 percent of Aceh's five million residents are Muslims subject to religious law, known locally as Qanun.

Non-Muslims who have committed an offense that violates both national and religious laws - such as selling bootleg liquor - can choose to be prosecuted under either system.

"[Simbolon] is a Christian but he decided to bow to Qanun," chief prosecutor Erwin Desman said, adding that the man may have chosen a flogging to avoid a lengthy criminal prosecution.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, which implements Islamic law, or Sharia.

Last year, two gay men who admitted having sex were flogged in Aceh, with each receiving 100 strokes of the cane, drawing heavy criticism from rights groups.

Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of Indonesia, which mainly follows a criminal code inherited from former colonial ruler the Netherlands.

Indonesian Christian publicly whipped for selling sharia-banned booze Document

An Iranian being held just before his hand is cut off (File photo)

Iranian authorities have amputated one hand of a prisoner who was charged with stealing sheep. The amputation was carried out at Mashhad Central Prison.

According to a report published by Khorasan Newspaper, the sentence was carried out on Wednesday, January 17. The prisoner, named Ali Kh., was arrested for sheep robbery in 2011 when he was 28. The prisoner's hand was amputated by a guillotine, and after the amputation, he was sent to the prison's clinic for medical treatment. The Islamic Penal Code of Iran permits amputation of hands and legs for defendants charged with robbery.

Based on Article 201 of the Islamic Penal Code, robbery is first punished by the amputation of four fingers of the thief's right hand; for the second time, it's punished by the amputation of the thief's left foot, and for the third time, the defendant is sentenced to life in prison. The thief is sentenced to death for the fourth time.

Moreover, based on Article 202 of the Islamic Penal code, if a thief is charged with robbery for the second time after his fingers were amputated, his left foot will be amputated.

According to Khorasan News, the amputation sentence for this prisoner was issued by the "experienced judges of the Appeal Court" who "considered the verdict completely legal considering the solid evidence and proofs".

Iran Human Rights (IHR) condemns physical punishments, considers it against human rights and emphasizes the necessity of a change in Iran's laws to put a stop to these inhumane punishments. IHR emphasises that the amputation of hands for theft are often carried out without the news being announced, and this is only the head of an iceberg.

"Besides being a medieval punishment," Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, argues "it also demonstrates the extreme hypocrisy in the Iranian Judiciary where a thief is sentenced by cutting off his hand, but there are reports about the head of the same Judiciary's 63 personal bank accounts, filled with public money, which are not even investigated."

Iranian authorities cut off a man's hand for stealing Document

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