Indonesia's Aceh to take caning indoors after backlash

Indonesia's conservative Aceh province says it will no longer allow canings for violations of Shariah law to be carried out in public, apparently in response to international condemnation of the caning last year of two men for gay sex.

A memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by Aceh Gov. Irwandi Yusuf and Yuspahruddin, head of the provincial Law and Human Rights office, stipulates that caning can only take place inside prisons or other places of detention.

It says adults can still witness the punishment but the numbers will be much smaller than the hundreds who regularly cheered the outdoor proceedings.

Hundreds of people have been publicly caned since it was introduced as a punishment in Aceh in 2005. Aceh is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia that practices Shariah law.