In what could be its last public caning, authorities in Aceh, Indonesia, punished a number of people, including unwed couples and prostitutes, in front of a baying crowd.
Caning is widely used as a form of corporal punishment in the conservative Indonesian province for actions such as consumption of alcohol, gambling, adultery, prostitution and gay sex.
Aceh caned 339 people in 2016.
Flogging was done in public, which prompted international criticism.
So, instead of doing away with the brutal practice, Aceh decided to carry out caning behind closed doors. Journalists and adults will still be able to watch but recording will not be allowed.
The change came after two men received 82 lashes each in May 2017 for having gay sex. The disturbing video of the whipping drew widespread condemnation.
"This (law) is to muffle protest... to muffle Islamophobia," Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf said, according to AFP. "We don't want Islamophobia to interfere with (Indonesia's) foreign affairs."
While homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian national law, it is in Aceh; 98 percent of its 5 million residents are Muslims.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters