Banda Aceh. The Aceh government has removed a provision for the stoning to death of adulterers from its draft of the Qanun Jinayat, a set of bylaws that replaces elements of the Criminal Code with Shariah provisions for Muslims, which was endorsed by the Aceh Legislative Council in 2009.
Syahrizal Abbas, head of the Aceh Islamic Shariah Agency, said on Tuesday that the government would discuss the Qanun Jinayat and the Qanun Acara Jinayat, the criminal code procedure bylaw, with ulema, academics and other related stakeholders to perfect the bylaw of which they had all agreed to revoke the stoning sentence.
The Qanun Jinayat and the Qanun Acara Jinayat were both passed by the legislative council, known as the DPRA, in 2009. The bylaws imposed harsh sentences such as stoning to death for adulterers and 100 lashes for people caught engaging in premarital sex or for committing homosexual acts. It also stipulated a maximum of 40 lashes or 40 months in jail for drinking alcoholic beverages and 60 lashes or a fine of 60 grams of pure gold or 60 months in jail for sexual harassment.
The former Aceh governor, Irwandi Yusuf, had refused to sign the draft bylaw because he was against the stoning and human rights activists also opposed the bylaws.
Since Aceh adopted a form of Shariah law in 2001, the province has implemented four qanun (Islamic bylaws) including one on Islamic propagation, one on khalwat — a bylaw where unmarried couples are punished for being in close proximity — one on alcoholic beverages and one on gambling.
“Actually the Qanun Jinayat draft is a revision of the four qanun, united into one qanun that embodies perfection and some additional points that have not been stipulated in the old qanun,” Syahrizal told the Jakarta Globe.
The draft qanun also stipulates a sentence for rapists, molestation, homosexuals, with offenders sentenced to a jail term, a maximum of 200 cane strokes and a fine.
“The two qanun are needed as an embodiment of Aceh as well as to fill the regulation inexistence and weakness in the implementation of Islamic Shariah,” Syahrizal said. “The two qanun drafts give wider space for the judges to decide alternate sentences by prioritizing an offender's psychological aspect and the background behind the reasons for violating the bylaw.”
Syahrizal said that he expected the bylaw — with alternate sanctions of caning, imprisonment and fines — would improve the behavior of people in Aceh.
He added that offenders would not be caned as long as they could still be educated.
“That's why we expect an improvement of the judges quality in terms of ability, knowledge and sensitivity under psychological reasons behind someone who violated the Qanun Jinayat,” Syahrizal said.