When rape victim faces whipping

When rape victim faces whipping
A billboard carrying a warning against adultery in Banda Aceh.

Mohd Nasir was elected the head of Lhok Bani village in Langsa only 10 months ago - and already he is facing what he describes as "the biggest test of my life."

Two weeks ago, a group of youths on their way home after watching a late night football match became suspicious when they neared the home of Yus, a 25-year-old divorcee and a single mother of two.

Believing she was having an illicit relationship - which is strictly forbidden in Muslim-majority Aceh under its syariah law - the young vigilantes stormed in.

When they found a man hiding in the cupboard, they tied him up, locked him in the cupboard, and then allegedly took turns to rape Yus.

As dawn broke and Mohd Nasir got ready for the subuh prayers, he received quite a shock when the bunch of youths came and handed him the bedraggled couple, saying they had caught the duo committing adultery.

They had thrown water and heaped dirt and sewage on the two before bringing them to the village head.

Mohd Nasir says Yus was in her nightwear and the man she was caught with was a stranger to him.

"To say I was in shock is to put it mildly. My mind was in chaos and all over the place. I have not been in the post more than 10 months and such a thing happens," he says.

Mohd Nasir, who declined to be photographed, says he called the local Wilayahtul Hisbah (WH), the syariah police, who quickly took the couple away.

But there was another shock awaiting Mohd Nasir.

Two days later, the police came calling, saying that eight youths from the village had allegedly raped Yus that morning after they caught her alone with the man in her house.

"I was horrified to hear this. The boys are only 19- and 20-year-olds and there is also a 13-year-old. They didn't say anything about this when they brought her to me."

Three of the youths were detained by police. The other five have fled.

Mohd Nasir says the families of the eight youths are now stressed and traumatised.

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