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Judicial CP - December 2005

Corpun file 17091

Jakarta Post, 23 December 2005

Gamblers publicly caned in Aceh

By Nani Afrida
The Jakarta Post/Banda Aceh

Large crowds gathered on Friday in Banda Aceh and Pidie to watch tsunami survivors publicly caned for gambling.

It was the eighth time this year convicted gamblers have been publicly caned in Aceh, under the sharia law implemented in the province two years ago. The first public caning took place in Bireuen regency in June this year.

Six men who have been living in the Lhong Raya center for displaced persons since the Dec. 26 tsunami were caned outside a mosque in Banda Aceh after being arrested for gambling during Ramadhan.

Prosecutor Nilawasi said the six men violated articles 5 and 23 of Bylaw No. 13/2003 on gambling.

"They were caught gambling by the Banda Aceh Police. The police confiscated a pack of playing cards and Rp 82,000 (US$8.20) in cash."

M. Zubair Husain, 42, who was convicted of organizing the illegal game, received 12 strokes of the cane. The other five men -- Nasrumubbin, 30; M Ali, 21; Subhan, 20; Darkashi, 25; and Dino, 20 -- each received 10 strokes of the cane.

In Sigli, Pidie regency, four men from the Trieng Gadeng center for displaced persons each received six strokes of the cane for gambling.

Aceh implemented sharia law in 2003, two years after the central government granted the province special autonomy to curb separatist demands.

Before canings were introduced, Aceh regional governments already enforced Muslim dress codes, mandatory prayers five times a day and the giving of alms.

The public canings began after the province introduced bylaws to prohibit gambling, sexual relations outside of marriage and alcohol. Of the bylaws, the one on gambling has been the most frequently violated.

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