Aceh Called to Stop Caning Offenders

Banda Aceh, TAG - The Aceh government should put an immediate stop to caning as a punishment for breaching Islamic Shariah law because it amounts to torture and is not internationally acceptable, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence said on Monday.

“The Aceh government should seriously consider other directives that govern corporal punishment, that is the universally acknowledged basic human rights principles,” said Hendra Fadli, chairman of the Aceh branch of the commission, known as Kontras. 

“The caning sentence in Aceh can be classified as a systemic violation of basic human rights,” he said. “To avoid the consequences [of such violations], the Aceh government must immediately issue a policy to stop corporal punishment in the form of caning.” 

Hendra’s call follows the public caning of a farmer, Syahrul, 40, in Jantho, Aceh Besar, on Friday, after he was found guilty of gambling. Three of Syahrul’s more daring associates managed to escape from their cells 15 minutes before the caning was to be carried out. 

Hendra said caning not only violated basic human rights, it was also in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia is a signatory to. The covenant opposes all forms of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments. 

In 1992, the United Nations Human Rights Committee called for the covenant to include cruel criminal penalties, including stoning, lashing and the caning of children, he said. 

“This ban is based on the argument that the only suitable criminal punishment in this modern civilization is imprisonment,” he said. 

Makmur Ibrahim, head of the Aceh government’s public relations and legal affairs office, responded by saying that caning as punishment was regulated by Qanuns (Islamic regulations) passed in 2002, which are law in Aceh, part of its special right to implement Shariah. 

“Interested or opposing parties should file for a judicial review with the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court had the power to outlaw caning.
“But no part of the community or nongovernmental organization has filed for judicial review,” Makmur said. 

He said that another way to seek to abolish the punishment was to file for a legislative review by the Aceh Council of Representatives. 

“The change can also be achieved through executive review with strong pressure on the government to revise the Qanuns. But so far there has been no objection to the caning sentence from the community,” Makmur said. 

“We haven’t taken the ulemas [Muslim religious leaders] into account. They would disagree with a caning ban. Only Kontras has voiced this demand.”[] 
Aceh Called to Stop Caning Offenders Aceh Called to Stop Caning Offenders Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 02, 2010 Rating: 5

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