Indonesian men publicly caned for gay sex

Thousands of people turned out in Indonesia's ultra-conservative Aceh province to watch two men get publicly caned for consensual gay sex.

Aceh is the only province in the country to practice Sharia law, which criminalises homosexuality. It isn't illegal in the rest of Indonesia.

On Tuesday (local time) was the first time people have been caned for being gay in Aceh.

Five enforcers, wearing robes and hoods, took turns to inflict the blows. The men, aged 20 and 23, were each sentenced to 85 strokes.

It was later lowered to 83 strokes each after they spent two months in prison.

According to activists, the men had been arrested in March by vigilantes who broke into their rented apartment to catch them having sex.

Thousands gathered for the public caning, cramming into a courtyard in front of a mosque to watch.

Many shouted insults and cheered as the men were whipped, with a number filming the punishment on their cellphones.

Attendees said it was important as part of law.

"I am very supportive of the caning punishment because we want the Sharia law of Islam to be properly implemented in Aceh," housewife Siti Nurhayati said.

"I refuse LGBT in Aceh because it violates Islamic law. There should be no more LGBT in Aceh because this is not good for the younger generation of Aceh in the future," Muhammad Ishak, a self-employed man, said.

Four straight couples were also caned for being intimate outside of marriage, but received fewer strokes.

The punishment has drawn ire across the globe and New Zealand's Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network has called on the Government to speak out.

"We are seeing worrying trends of intolerance in various parts of the world, and as close neighbours to Indonesia, it's all the more important that the Government make it clear that these actions, which amount to torture, are not tolerated," Act Party leader David Seymour said.

National MP Paul Foster-Paul said the group has asked to meet with the Indonesian Ambassador to discuss the caning.

Newshub.