Gang-raped Indonesian woman may be caned publicly

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - An Indonesian woman who was gang-raped by men who accused her of having extramarital sex may be caned publicly for violating Islamic law, an official said Wednesday.

The 25-year-old widow said she was raped by eight men who allegedly found her having sex with a married man in her house. The men reportedly beat the man, doused the two with sewage, and then turned them over to Islamic police in conservative Aceh province.

The alleged attack occurred early Thursday in Lhokbani, a village in East Aceh district.

The head of Islamic Shariah law in the district, Ibrahim Latief, said the two could be punished with nine strokes of a cane for violating religious law, pending an investigation.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation of 240 million people, has a policy of secularism but allows Aceh, a predominantly Muslim province on the northern tip of Sumatra, to implement a version of Sharia Islamic law.

Police have arrested three of the eight men, including a 13-year-old boy, and are hunting for the others, Latief said.

He added that the men would be tried under the criminal code, which can carry a maximum penalty of 15 years.

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