Indonesian province considers beheading as murder punishment -Implementation of sharia law has become increasingly harsh in conservative region of Aceh
A man being caned in public last year after he was convicted of gay sex. Photograph: Heri Juanda/AP
The conservative Indonesian province of Aceh, which already carries out public caning of gay people, adulterers and gamblers, is considering the introduction of beheading as a punishment for murder, a top Islamic law official has said.
Syukri M Yusuf, the head of Aceh’s shariah law and human rights office, said the provincial government had asked his office to research beheading as a method of execution under Islamic law and to consult public opinion.
“Beheading is more in line with Islamic law and will cause a deterrent effect. A strict punishment is made to save human beings,” Yusuf told reporters. “We will begin to draft the law when our academic research is completed.”
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Aceh is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia to practise shariah law, a concession made by the central government in 2005 to end a decades-long war for independence.
Its implementation has become increasingly harsh and also applies to non-Muslims. Last year, the province for the first time caned two men as punishment for gay sex after vigilantes broke into their home and handed them over to religious police.
Yusuf said if sharia law was consistently applied, then crime, particularly murder, would decrease significantly or disappear.
He said punishment for murderers had in practice been “relatively mild” and they could re-offend after release from prison. He pointed to Saudi Arabia as an example to follow in carrying out severe punishment for murder.
Indonesia has the death penalty for crimes such as murder and drug trafficking, which it carries out by firing squad. Its last executions were in July 2016, when three Nigerians and one Indonesian convicted of drug offences were shot on the Nusa Kambangan prison island.
Associated Press in Banda Aceh