Thousands of people gathered in the courtyard of a mosque to witness the caning, which was the first time that Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to practice Shariah law, has caned people for homosexuality.
Insults were hurled at the men, aged 20 and 23, who were whipped across the back.
Many in the crush of spectators filmed the caning with cellphones as a team of five robed and hooded enforcers took turns to inflict the punishment.
“What they have done is like a virus that can harm people’s morale,” she said.
This kind of public punishment is an attempt to stop the spread of the virus to other communities in Aceh.”
The couple were arrested in March after neighborhood vigilantes in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, suspected them of being gay and broke into their rented room to catch them in the act.
Banda Aceh resident, Ibrahim Muhayat, said far more people attended the publicly meted-out punishment than usual because like him, many wanted to witness Indonesia’s first-ever caning of gay men.