A religious leader and employee of an organization that helped draft strict religious laws in the Indonesian province of Aceh, including those in favor of public flogging, was himself flogged for adultery on Thursday. Aceh Ulema Council (MPU) member Mukhlis bin Muhammad was whipped 28 times after he was reportedly caught in September having an affair with a married woman, who was caned 23 times, per the BBC. Mukhlis is also likely to lose his job with the council that advised the local government on drafting and implementing Islamic law as he would be in violation of its moral code, per AFP.
Mukhlis, 46, is the first religious leader to be publicly flogged in Aceh since the semi-autonomous region ushered in Sharia law in 2005. Flogging serves as punishment for a variety of crimes including extramarital and premarital sex, gambling, and drinking or selling alcohol. "This is God's law. Anyone must be flogged if proven guilty, even if he is a member of the MPU," says Husaini Wahab, deputy mayor of Aceh Besar district, per the BBC. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for an end to public flogging, as have rights groups. (Read more flogging stories.)