Harrowing images have emerged of an Indonesian woman crying and burying her head in her hands after being caned by a religious officer for breaching Sharia law.

The woman is believed to be from the city of Banda Aceh in the Aceh region on the island of Sumatra. It is the only place in Indonesia – the world’s most populated Muslim-majority country – where Sharia law is imposed.

The woman was canned 26 times on a stage and in front of a crowd of people. Her crime was spending time in close proximity with a man, who is not her husband.

She was also alleged to have had sex outside marriage.

Pictures of a man being canned afterwards suggest her alleged partner was also publicly flogged.

Since the Aceh region gained special autonomy from the Indonesian authorities in 2001, it began to impose Sharia law.

People can face floggings for a range of offences including gambling, drinking alcohol, gay sex or any sexual relationship outside marriage.