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Indonesian man and transgender woman could be caned 100 times for ‘having gay sex’

Josh Jackman April 3, 2018
A religious officer canes an Acehnese youth onstage as punishment for dating outside of marriage, which is against sharia law, outside a mosque in Banda Aceh on August 1, 2016. The strictly Muslim province, Aceh has become increasingly conservative in recent years and is the only one in Indonesia implementing Sharia law. / AFP / CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

(CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

An Indonesian man and a transgender woman have been arrested for ‘having gay sex’.

The pair face being sentenced to receive up to 100 lashes if convicted.

Local residents reportedly broke into a hair salon in Aceh – the only region of the Muslim-majority country where Sharia law is in effect and gay sex is illegal – and dragged the two to a police station.

A religious officer canes an Acehnese man (R) 100 times for having sex outside marriage, which is against sharia law, in Banda Aceh on November 28, 2016. Aceh is the only province in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law. People can face floggings for a range of offences -- from gambling, to drinking alcohol, to gay sex. / AFP / Chaideer MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Police claim to have discovered evidence of gay sex, including condoms and “transaction money,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Evendi A Latif, chief of the Public Order Agency’s sharia division, said that the two had denied having sex, according to The Jakarta Post.

He continued: “Residents said the salon often served as a same-sex dating site.

A group of Muslim protesters march with banners against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Banda Aceh on Decmber 27, 2017. There has been a growing backlash against Indonesia's small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over the past year, with ministers, hardliners and influential Islamic groups lining up to make anti-LGBT statements in public. / AFP PHOTO / Chaideer MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“It caused unrest in the neighbourhood.”

Evendi added: “According to witness testimonies, N allegedly paid M Rp 100,000 (£5) for a date.”

Trans women are not recognised as women in Aceh. Earlier this year, police arrested 12 trans women and shaved their heads in an effort “to turn them into men”.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

The raid on salons was called “operasi penyakit masyarakat,” which translates as “community sickness operation”.

Two university students are also being detained before going on trial for having gay sex in Aceh.

The 21 and 24-year-old were arrested on Thursday after vigilantes forced their way into a room where the men were allegedly having sex.

Marzuki, head of the Aceh Provincial Sharia Law Department, told local reporters that one of the men had ‘confessed’ to the charges after residents handed over mobiles, condoms and a mattress as evidence.

(Instagram/kabaraceh)

Last year, two men were caned 83 times each as a legal punishment for having gay sex.

Marzuki said then that residents in the local area had been suspicious of the men because they of their apparent intimacy, and deliberately set out to catch them having sex.

Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate release of all four people being held.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: Indonesian gay couple walk as arrive for caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Gay men in Indonesia being led to be lashed 83 times (Getty)

Graeme Reid, director of the non-governmental organisation LGBT rights programme, said: “These vigilante raids and arbitrary detentions underscore the abusive and discriminatory nature of Aceh’s criminal code.

“Acehnese authorities should release the four and protect the public from marauding vigilantes who target vulnerable minorities.”

While homosexuality has never been illegal in Indonesia, attitudes towards LGBT people have become steadily more extreme across the country in recent years despite a growing gay population.

The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association classifies homosexuality, bisexuality and being transgender as illnesses.

Indonesian police guard men arrested in a recent raid during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017. Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said on May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country. / AFP PHOTO / FERNANDO (Photo credit should read FERNANDO/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

There is also a growing movement in the country to ban gay sex.

A bill with the support of most of the country’s main political parties is making its way through the legislative process.

Amendments have been accepted by the House of Representatives, but the whole Parliament must sign off on the bill before it makes its way to the President’s desk.

GiveOut is aiming to eliminate the violence in countries where the LGBTQI community is not accepted (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said the new law “will create new discriminatory offences that do not exist in the current criminal code.

“It will slow down Indonesia’s efforts to develop their economy, society, knowledge [and] education … if law enforcement agencies are busy policing morality.

“It’s sounding like the Acehnese sharia code,” he added.

Indonesian Muslim protestors of Muslim organization 'Hizbuth Tahrir' hold a banner reading, 'Forbidden, Crime and Disgusting' refering to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual associations during a protest against an eventual meeting on the issue in Surabaya on March 26, 2010. Indonesian police said on March 24, they will not issue a permit for an international gay and transgender group to convene a regional conference because of fears it could incite unrest. The international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex association (ILGA) was scheduled to meet from 26 - 28 March in the world's most populous Muslim country. AFP PHOTO / MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT (Photo credit should read MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

The day after the two men were caned last year, 141 men were arrested in Jakarta, the capital, for having a “gay sex party”.

And earlier that same month, eight men were arrested for holding a “gay party” in Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: An indonesian man escorted by the sharia police after get caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Indonesian man escorted after public caning for having gay sex (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

The Indonesian Supreme Court narrowly blocked a similar measure from passing last year, but it seems that was only a temporary reprieve.

Gay hook-up apps have also been pulled from the Google Play Store in Indonesia amid a government crackdown on the LGBT community.

More: aceh, Asia, Asia, gay sex, Indonesia, Indonesia, police, Trans, Transgender

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