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Activists Denounce Shariah Vigilante Justice

Banda Aceh, TAG - Human rights activists on Tuesday criticized Aceh’s provincial administration for failing to prevent vigilantes from punishing alleged violators of Shariah law in a variety of ways – from sexually harassing people to beating them up.

Activists Evi Narti Zain and Hendra Fadli said that if the province’s apparatus and the general public in Aceh could take matters into their own hands by physically punishing people for violating Islamic laws, it was because they were allowed by local authorities to do as they pleased.
Evi is executive director of the human rights coalition HAM Aceh while Hendra is coordinator of the Aceh office of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
The activists’ statements come on the heels of a sexual harassment incident involving three men who raided a home in Ajun Jeumpet village of Aceh Besar. An amateur male photographer there was taking pictures of a girl who was not related to him by blood. The girl, identified as 18-year-old Aliyah, was then allegedly subjected to sexual harassment — the men who raided the house stripped and groped her, before verbally humiliating her.
Aliyah was subsequently caned outside the Al Munawarah Mosque in Jantho, in accordance with Aceh’s Shariah law, for committing khalwat , or being in close proximity with photographer Setya, a married man. She received four lashes as punishment .
Aliyah’s family filed a police report against the three men.
One of them, Sabirin, a 45-year-old civil servant, has been arrested and is facing trial at the Jantho District Court. The other two remain at large.
Hendra argued that vigilante justice continued to occur because perpetrators were rarely prosecuted by the law. According to Kontras’s records, more than 100 cases of street justice relating to perceived Shariah-law breaches have occurred in Aceh in the past three years. These included false imprisonment, raids and beatings, Hendra said.
“Even police — when they conduct raids they are supposed to get a warrant,” he added.
Hendra urged Aceh’s Shariah Office to educate people in the province to prevent them from taking justice into their own hands in the name of Islam.
Evi said that conducting street justice and vigilante crackdowns on people’s homes simply because of alleged violations of Shariah law constitutes a violation of human rights.[]
Activists Denounce Shariah Vigilante Justice Activists Denounce Shariah Vigilante Justice Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on April 14, 2011 Rating: 5

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