Indonesia's Aceh carries out public canings despite pledge

A Shariah law official whips one of two men convicted of gay sex during a public caning outside a mosque in Banda Aceh, Aceh province Indonesia, Frida

A Shariah law official, right, waits for his turn to deliver caning to people convicted of violating sharia law as Acehnese women watch during a publi

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's deeply conservative Muslim province of Aceh has publicly caned 15 people found guilty of violating Shariah law, despite pledging not to carry out the punishment in public.

Several hundred people including a group of tourists from Malaysia watched the caning after Friday prayers outside the Baiturrahim Mosque in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

Among those punished were a gay couple sentenced to receive 86 lashes each by three executioners.

The other 13 included couples punished for showing affection in public and people caught drinking or selling alcohol, who were caned between 13 to 27 times.

Aceh is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia that practices Shariah law.

Hundreds of people have been publicly caned since the punishment was introduced in Aceh in 2005.