Aceh Parliament Revises Stoning Bylaw

CAIRO — Meeting opposition at home and abroad, the new parliament in Indonesia’s Aceh province will revise some articles of the Shari`ah law, particularly that related to the stoning of adulterers.

"The article on stoning needs to be revised most urgently,” Hasbi Abdullah, Acting speaker of the Legislative Council, told The Jakarta Post on Friday, October 23.

“It is not suitable for the community in Aceh, despite the implementation of Islamic Shari`ah law in the province."

The former parliament passed the stoning bylaw last September, days before its term ended.

The article, which allows the stoning of adulterers, is part of law allowing the implementation of Shari`ah in Aceh.

The law also mandates punishment for premarital sex, rapists, molesters, alcohol users and gamblers, as well as people who are caught alone with persons of the opposite sex who are not their immediate family.

The law sparked furor at home and abroad, drawing threats from human rights groups to take legal action to force a review.

Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf has refused to sign it.

Hasbi said the stoning bylaw could create many troubles for the autonomous province if implemented.

"Moreover, Aceh is currently still being supervised by, and the focus of, international attention," he said.

"We don't want Aceh to be regarded as a place that is not friendly to the international community and lax on upholding human rights."


The Aceh parliament will also revisit three other bylaws of the Shari`ah law.

"The three bylaws passed by the previous legislature are ticking time bombs that will explode if we fail to thoroughly deliberate them, and this is the duty of the new legislature," Hasbi said.

The lawmaker said that there is a consensus among almost all members to revise the bylaws.

"Every Aceh legislative councillor is of the same opinion: to amend the bylaw immediately," he said.

Though his party, Aceh Party, holds 36 of the 69-seat council, Hasbi admitted the amendment would not be easy."We've got a mess here from the previous legislature that needs cleaning up in the form of this bylaw," he said.

"We must be ready to face the consequences from those who are in favour of or against the implementation of the bylaw." [adm/islamonline]

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