Two Christian men were publicly flogged in Indonesia for consuming alcohol and gambling. This has been a rare case of non-Muslims facing punishment often condemned by right-wing groups in the country’s ultra-conservative Aceh province.

Aceh is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim majority country that imposes Islamic law.

The two Christians were among seven people who were publicly flogged in the province on Monday.

The beating comes less than two weeks after a male couple was flogged nearly 80 times for having gay sex, which is prohibited under local Islamic law.

On Monday, the two defendants each received 40 lashes from a masked Sharia officer who hit them on the back with a stick.

One of them, identified only as JF, said he chose to be flogged to avoid criminal prosecution, which could have imprisoned him for up to six months.

Non-Muslims who have committed a crime that violates both national and religious laws can choose to be prosecuted under either system.

However, whipping of non-Muslims is rare, as only a handful have been fined for crimes such as gambling and selling alcohol in recent years.

The other five were Muslims who were flogged for adultery and alcohol consumption – both violations of religious law.

Meanwhile, human rights groups have deemed the public beating to be cruel, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo has called for an end.