FILE - In this Monday, March 20, 2017, file photo, a Sharia law official whips a man convicted of adultery with a rattan cane in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, when two men each face up to 100 stroke of the cane after neighbors reported them to Islamic religious police for having gay sex. Indonesian police detained dozens of men Sunday, May 21 in a weekend raid on a gay sauna in the capital Jakarta, another sign of growing hostility to homosexuality in the world's most populous Muslim nation. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda, File)

2 men in Indonesia caned dozens of times for gay sex

May 23, 2017 - 1:36 am

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Two men in Indonesia's Aceh province have been publicly caned dozens of times for consensual gay sex, a punishment rights advocates denounced as "medieval torture" and escalates an anti-gay backlash.

Hundreds packed the courtyard of a mosque to witness the caning Tuesday, which was the first time that Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to practice Shariah law, has caned people for homosexuality.

The men, aged 20 and 23, were arrested in March after vigilantes broke into their rented room to catch them having sex.

A Shariah court last week sentenced each man to 85 strokes. Heterosexual couples also were caned Tuesday, for affection outside marriage.

Indonesia's LGBT community has been under siege in the past year. Prejudice has been fanned by stridently anti-gay comments from politicians and Islamic hard-liners.

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