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Gay sex to be banned in Indonesia – but it’s ‘not discriminatory,’ say lawmakers

Josh Jackman May 30, 2018

(Getty)

Gay sex is set to be made illegal in Indonesia.

The country’s new criminal code, which includes a prohibition on homosexual acts, is currently being discussed in the House of Representatives, with a goal of passing it into law later this year.

Arsul Sani, a member of the People’s Representative Council which is forming the new code, said that the controversial ban would go into effect, but would somehow not be discriminatory.

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)

Sani, who is also secretary-general of the United Development Party, said: “This article will not be deleted, but the formula will be improved so that there is no perception of discrimination.”

Aceh is the only part of the Muslim-majority country where gay sex is already illegal, as the region has Sharia law, having won this concession from the government as part of a 2005 autonomy deal.

The ban – which could make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison – was set to come into effect in February, but was delayed.

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 (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty)

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

Sani said that his United Development Party and other Islamic parties would strongly oppose the removal of the gay sex ban from the proposed code, which could be in effect from August.

In January, Indonesian police arrested 12 transgender women in Aceh 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”.

The police chief in Aceh said his officers also humiliated the trans women “by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out.”

Speaking earlier this year, Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said the new law would “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.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

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

The 20 and 23-year-old, identified only by their initials – MH and MT – were the first to be sentenced to punishment for gay sex in the region.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Indonesia to stop its horrific treatment of LGBT people in Aceh.

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)

A report alleged that there had been attempts to ‘cover up’ the anti-LGBT oppression in the region by moving the floggings away from the public eye.

But it’s not just in Aceh where LGBT Indonesians suffer.

Indonesian Gay Couple
(Getty)

The caning punishment came the day after 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.

More: Asia, Asia, Gay, gay sex, Government, Indonesia, Indonesia, Law, Politics

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