News / Asia

Sharia Police Arrest ‘Punks’ in Indonesia’s Aceh

Youths stand in the pond located at a police school, after having their heads shaved by the police, in Aceh Besar of the Indonesia's Aceh province, December 13, 2011.
Youths stand in the pond located at a police school, after having their heads shaved by the police, in Aceh Besar of the Indonesia's Aceh province, December 13, 2011.
Kate Lamb

Indonesian police in the Sharia-ruled province, Aceh, have detained 25 teenagers, but it is not clear why. The youths call themselves “punks” and human rights activists call their detention an attempt to curb freedom of expression in the traditionally conservative province.

After a charity music event for a local orphanage at Banda Aceh’s Budaya Park on Saturday, police in the province arrested dozens of teenagers for apparently no other reason than their appearance.

Those detained had come to Aceh from as far away as Jakarta and West Java, sporting hairstyles and clothing rarely seen in the conservative province. Witnesses said the youth had mohawks, tattoos, earrings and nose piercings and wore black shirts, dark clothing and tight jeans.

Re-education

Banda Aceh Police Chief Iskandar Hasan said the young people are undergoing a “re-education process” involving haircuts, shampoo and toothpaste, plus a new wardrobe that includes clothing worn during prayer.

The police chief said officers plan to toss the teenagers into a pool as part of their punishment and the young women will have their hair cut in the fashion of female police officers.

Youths stand in the pond located at a police school, after having their heads shaved by the police, in Aceh Besar of the Indonesia's Aceh province, December 13, 2011.
Youths stand in the pond located at a police school, after having their heads shaved by the police, in Aceh Besar of the Indonesia's Aceh province, December 13, 2011.

Authorities deny the re-education initiative violates human rights, but activists such as Haris Azhar from human rights groups Kontras, have lashed out against the move.

“I think it violates the rights of freedom of expression of youth groups in Aceh and it seems like they are using the defense of Sharia restrictions to limit youth group and how they express themselves.”

Super conservative

Aceh is traditionally more conservative than other parts of Indonesia. The province adopted partial Sharia law in 2001 as part of an autonomy package aimed at quelling separatist sentiments.

The province has specific Sharia bylaws that outlaw homosexuality and gambling, while adultery is punishable to death by stoning.

There are no laws against dressing as a punk, however, and Azhar claims that Aceh police are subjectively interpreting the Sharia bylaw to instill their own view of Islamic morality.

“There is no such law that explicitly limits this kind of thing or is against this kind of thing, against the existence of punks groups in Banda Aceh. But I am afraid that the police were motivated by the cultural perspective, which is also not clear. It is not the duty of the police of how to interpret the meaning of culture,” said Azhar.

Azhar said the Achenese government should accept the punks as part of its local urban and modern culture. As of Wednesday, it remained unclear when Aceh police intend to release the youths.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid