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3 Gamblers Escape Prison to Avoid Caning


Banda Aceh. Just 15 minutes prior to being whipped on Friday, three of four men convicted of violating Aceh’s Islamic Shariah code on gambling managed to escape from the Jantho Prosecutors’ Office.
“They fooled Prosecution Office staff by asking for permission to go to the toilet. They used that chance to run away while the staff were distracted,” said Muhammad Rusli, Aceh Besar’s public order and Shariah Police chief. 


Speaking to reporters in Jantho, a town located 60 kilometers east of Banda Aceh, Muhammad identified the three fugitives as Supriadi, 27, Erijal, 21, and Armaidi, 35. 


Even as staff members of the prosecutors office, as well Shariah and local police, attempted to give chase, the three suspects outran their pursuers and eluded capture. Shariah Police officers wasted no time scouring the villages surrounding Jantho, but to no avail. 


“I deeply regret and am disappointed by this incident,” Muhammad said. “This [shows] negligence on the part of our staff.” 


Each of the three men, along with the fourth convict, Sahrul, 40, were to be caned six times outside the Al Munawarah mosque in Jantho, after Friday prayers. They were being held at the Prosecutors’ Office detention cell during Friday prayers. 


The four men from the Indrapuri subdistrict had been found guilty of violating the 2003 Qanun Jinayat (Islamic criminal code) on gambling, which carries the maximum punishment of 12 lashings with a cane. 


They had reportedly been arrested for gambling over a dominoes game, using bets of Rp 1,000, on Dec. 28 last year. Hidden inside the hems of their trousers, police found Rp 115,000 in cash and a dice. 


Shariah officials finally only caned Sahrul in front of the public. More than 100 people gathered for the Friday prayers witnessed the beating. Dressed in white, Sahrul winced every time the executioner, whose head was completely covered in cloth, whipped him hard across the back with a rattan stick. 


The public inquired as to why only one person was lashed, when an announcement had been made that four gamblers would be caned. Members of the prayer-attending audience expressed regret over the officials negligence.
Others wondered why the gambler was only lashed six times. “What kind of punishment is that? Just six lashes?” 


Representatives of the Prosecutors’ Office refused to issue any statement, and left the mosque in a hurry . 


The Wilayatul Hisbah, or Shariah Police, known for conducting raids to curb immoral acts among the Acehnese, fell under public scrutiny after three of their officers were declared suspects in the recent alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old university student. 


The three officers allegedly took turns raping a 20-year-old student in a detention cell. 


They would, however, not be charged in accordance with the Qanun. 


While the Qanun was passed to replace parts of the Criminal Code in September by Aceh’s legislative council, Governor Irwandi Yusuf has refused to endorse it after human rights groups spoke out against it because of what they called cruel and unusual punishments, such as stoning to death for adultery. 


If the Qanun had been passed, Friday’s gamblers could possibly face being caned 60 times each and fined 600 grams of gold, or face a 60-month detention. 


Those organizing gambling would face a maximum of 120 lashes, and fined 1,200 grams of gold.[]
3 Gamblers Escape Prison to Avoid Caning 3 Gamblers Escape Prison to Avoid Caning Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on January 30, 2010 Rating: 5

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