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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
Indonesian police separate Lesbian couple
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Indonesian police separate Lesbian couple

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Islamic police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forcibly separated a Lesbian couple and have threatened to behead them, BBC News reports on August 25.

Aceh is at the northwestern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is allowed to have an autonomous administration under Muslim Shariah law as part of an agreement reached with Islamist rebels in the 1950s.

The two women were reportedly married several months ago when one of them disguised herself as a man and persuaded a Muslim cleric to preside over their wedding.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Indonesia. Same-sex relations are legal under Indonesian civil law, but are not permitted by Shariah law.

According to BBC News, suspicious neighbors reported the couple to Aceh's Islamic police.

Their marriage has been officially annulled, and they have been forced to sign documents promising not to see each other again.

The Singapore Straits Times identifies the couple as Ranto, 26, and Nuraini, 18.

The newspaper added that they have now been sent back to their original villages, about 36 km apart.

The Islamic police commander for their district has threatened them with beheading.

'We told them that they must be beheaded and burned and their ashes must be thrown away to the sea. We are actually allowed by our religion to kill them,' Southwest Aceh district religious police chief Muddatsir told the Straits Times.

Muddatsir's authority for beheading the women is unclear, however.

Aceh, the only province in Indonesia that uses Shariah law, but it has not adopted any provisions dealing specifically with Gay and Lesbian people, BBC News says.

The provincial parliament passed Islamic laws allowing adulterers to be stoned to death and Gay men to be caned in 2009, but the provincial governor refused to sign them.

Human activists have blamed Aceh's laws for encouraging vigilantism and intolerance, and say they violate the Indonesian constitution.

In December last year, Human Rights Watch issued a report condemning Aceh's provincial government for arbitrary arrests, abuses, and torture.

In August 2010, Aceh police publicly caned five offenders: a couple accused of adultery, and three men accused of drinking and gambling.

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