Stephen Fitzpatrick; 15/9/09
Parliamentarians in the Indonesian province of Aceh yesterday passed a law that would allow stoning to death for adultery and whipping for premarital sex. Critics plan to mount a legal challenge to the sharia law provisions, passed at the last possible moment before the current parliament in Banda Aceh is dissolved. The draft law 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. It was drafted in response to popular pressure to fully implement sharia law in the province, under the terms of an autonomy deal struck in 2000. Mr Yusuf is not thought to support the law’s more extreme elements, cobbled together by a parliamentary committee.