The couple were caught in 2018 at a palm oil plantation and brought before Aceh’s Islamic court, per the outlet.
The man is married and heads the East Aceh fishing agency, AFP reported, citing the head of the general investigation division at the East Aceh prosecutors’ office.
The judges couldn’t find the accused man guilty of adultery because he denied the charges, the prosecutor said, so they pinned him instead for “showing affection to a female partner who is not his wife.” They sentenced him to be flogged 30 times, but the Sharia Supreme Court reduced his punishment to 15 lashes in an appeal.
According to an AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday, the woman’s flogging was paused because she couldn’t bear the pain.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that enforces Islamic law as part of an agreement that gives the region special autonomy from the rest of the nation. It permits flogging as a punishment for offenses of drinking alcohol, gambling, same-sex sexual relations, and adultery.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the practice as “barbaric punishments” for victimless crimes. And since 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for the Aceh government to cease using the punishment.
The punishment of 100 lashes is common in Aceh for women found guilty of adultery. In October 2021, a 19-year-old girl was flogged 100 times for having sex with an 18-year-old who wasn’t her husband. She fainted after the whipping and had to receive treatment from officers on-site, according to local outlet iNews.id.
In November that year, a female civil servant and the married man she was found guilty of having an affair with were both given 100 lashes. Her whipping also had to be temporarily stopped because she could not withstand the pain, iNews.id reported.