More than 500 people in the Indonesian province of Aceh have been caned in the last two years, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Aceh’s Shariah-based criminal code was introduced in 2015, Asian Correspondent has reported.

Canings and floggings are primarily for what Human Rights Watch calls “victimless crimes”, including non-marital kissing and gay sex offences.

Earlier this year, two men were publicly flogged in front of a cheering crowd after being caught together.

They were the first people to be sentenced to corporal punishment for homosexuality under the province’s laws.

The punishment of men for gay sex crimes is part of an apparent crackdown on the LGBTI community in Indonesia.

Elsewhere in the country, over 100 men were arrested in May at a gay sauna in Jakarta.

Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman spoke out after the high-profile flogging to condemn the treatment of LGBTI people in Indonesia.

Following the international outcry, Aceh has made subsequent canings hidden from public view.

Human Rights Watch called on President Joko Widodo to “uphold Indonesia’s international legal obligations and abolish discriminatory Shariah regulations” to put an end to “barbaric punishments”.

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