Langsa stands out for its public caning sentences

Langsa stands out for its public caning sentences
North Aceh Wilayahtul Hisbah (WH) Syariah Police chief Mursalin (right) and deputy Jailani believe in advising and educating people first rather than punishing them.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sharmila gets teary and a bit scared when asked about the syariah sentence for her husband Agussalim M. Yamin. He is to be caned five times in public for a gambling offence.

"He was caught somewhere else and my neighbours and other villagers don't know about it," she says in her home in her village in Lhoksemauwe.

Her husband drives a trishaw and Sharmila runs a small shop in the village to make ends meet.

She hoped word would never get out in the village that her husband was caught gambling because they have nowhere to go and fear public humiliation.

"I don't know how much the amount was because I didn't want to ask. I only advised him not to do it again," she says.

In fact, they managed to keep it so quiet that even their new village head Ibnu Agus did not know about the offence and sentence.

But the thing is Agussalim was caught for the offence about two years ago and was sentenced to public caning by the Syariah Court on Aug 13, 2012. The sentence has yet to be executed.

In fact, none of those who have been sentenced to public caning by the Syariah Court in Lhokseumawe in the past two years have had their sentences carried out.

Most of the other districts in Aceh - except for Langsa - have also not executed the sentences in the last two years.

But it is not for lack of desire to do so. The main reason is a lack of funds.

Edwardo from the Attorney's Office in Lhoksemauwe admits there were problems in the implementation of the syariah sentences.

"For one thing, there is no detention order for syariah offences which means the offender walks away scot free.

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