Law On Stoning To Death In Aceh : Did Pancasila die just a little bit more today?


“Bahrom Rasjid, one of the law’s drafters and a member of parliament, says the bill was passed unanimously Monday by the regional house of representatives. It will take effect within 30 days.” – The Jakarta Post 14/09/2009

The news in The Jakarta Post, 14 September 2009, had been annoying me for the past few days. It takes place in Aceh, a semi-autonomy provinces  enforcing Sharia law provisions. The law draft came from the office of Governor Irwandi Yusuf, a US-educated veterinarian with secular views who spent his early adult years fighting in the Acehnese armed resistance. Within 30 days as of 14/09 Aceh province will allow stoning to death for adultery and whipping for premarital sex and homosexuality, whereby such will also be punishable by steep prison

Stoning as a form of sanctioning is applied in various forms in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and parts of Nigeria. But its use is a point of contention among Islamic scholars. The new Indonesian law also imposes tough sentences and fines, to be paid in kilograms of gold, for rape and pedophilia, but the most hotly disputed article was on adultery and states that offenders could be punished by a minimum of 100 lashings and a maximum of stoning to death. The most notable example in modern Islam was that of Amina Lawal, a young woman who was sentenced to death in a Nigerian state in 2002 for having sex outside marriage, but was later released.

Do you remember when the death penalty procedure was challenged by Moslem’s Advocacy Team (Tim Pembela Muslim) who were the defense lawyers for Amrozi (accused Bali bombers), in Constitutional Court?

They questioned the procedure and proclaimed that there is only an 85% chance in dying when a person is shot for the first. There is a possibility  that this might lean towards “torture action”, whereas such is against basic human rights “freedom from torture” that is stated on our basic constitution ( UUD 1945 ) article 28 I.

Freedom from torture, is a basic principle of human rights that has been decided by our basic constitution (UUD 1945) second amendment and Law no 39/1999 articles 4.

Although it is Regional regulation, Law On Stoning to death should refer to National Law No 32/2004 on Regional Regulations and the national laws  which should be the basis for forming regional regulations,  Articles 136 (4) states that Regional regulations may not contradict with national laws and existing common norms and values.

The Definitions about “against common norm and value” can be interpreted as a policy that is not only discriminative but also results in the disturbance of community relationship and public service. The consequences beyond that is if it contradicts with national laws and existing norms and values, it is not binding anymore. Moreover, the bill violates national and international treaties signed by Indonesia protecting the rights of minorities and women because “morally unacceptable action”, such as whipping for premarital sex and steep prison for homosexuality.

Althought Indonesia is the largest moslem population in the world, we are not a moslem country. Let me quote the words of former presidentKH Abdurrahman Wahid: “we must see Islam as an ideological brick that is part of an Indonesian building of principles established on diversity”. The foundation of our five pillars principle,known as “Pancasila” that rules our country is unquestionable.
The new bill on Aceh, is a backward step to our democracy. It is discriminatory and it is saddening. because it violates CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) that was signed by Indonesia. I really hope that the national government will take action on this and will not sit silently.

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