60-year-old Christian woman caned for selling alcohol in unprecedented Sharia law case

The elderly woman was whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane in Indonesia, the first such punishment handed to a non-Muslim 

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The Independent Online

An elderly Christian woman has been caned in Indonesia, the first time a Sharia law punishment has been meted out to a non-Muslim.

The 60-year-old, who was convicted of selling alcohol, was whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane, before a crowd of hundreds, in Aceh province on Tuesday, according to reports.

A couple who had been found guilty of adultery received 100 lashes at the same time.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that applies Sharia law, with public canings, often in front of huge crowds, commonplace.

Under Aceh's strict Islamic code, introduced after it was granted special autonomy from Jakarta in 2001, corporal punishment is imposed on adulterers, gays, drinkers and even those who speak to unmarried members of the opposite.

A bylaw that took effect late last year allowed sharia regulations to be applied to non-Muslims in certain situations, an official from the prosecutor's office told the AFP news agency.

He added: "This is the first case of a non-Muslim being punished under Islamic criminal bylaw."

Islamic laws have been strengthened since the central Government struck a peace deal with leaders in the restive province.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world.

Around 90% of Indonesians are Muslim, though most practise a more moderate strand than that found in Aceh.

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