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Nine men face jail after homophobic Indonesian police raid perfectly legal ‘gay party’

Emma Powys Maurice September 4, 2020
Indonesia

Men arrested in a previous gay party raid stand in line at a police station in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 22, 2017. (FERNANDO/AFP/Getty)

Nine men in Indonesia are facing fines and up to 15 years in jail after police raided a “gay party” in a Jakarta hotel.

Jakarta police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said nine people suspected of organising the party on Saturday (August 29) were arrested, and 47 others who participated were released.

Homosexuality is technically not illegal in Indonesia except in the conservative Aceh province, so the party’s organisers are instead being charged under a pornography law which carries a hefty prison sentence.

“There is no legal justification for criminalising the behaviour these men are accused of. Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone,” said Amnesty International Indonesia’s executive director Usman Hamid.

“The authorities are being discriminatory and violating the human rights to privacy and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.”

Discrimination against LGBT+ people is widespread in Indonesia as the Muslim-majority country becomes increasingly intolerant towards gay rights.

In February, members of the House of Representatives proposed a “Family Resilience law” that would define homosexuality as deviant and require LGBT+ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation. So-called “offenders” would be threatened with losing custody of their children.

Police have now set up a special task force to investigate alleged homosexual activity, and an Indonesian mayor openly called for “LGBT raids” on rented houses, apartments, and dorms to stop what he called “immoral” acts.

“Raids like these send a terrifying message to LGBTI people,” said Amnesty International.

“We call on the authorities to release all people arrested in the party and drop all charges against them. They must also stop these arbitrary and humiliating raids and stop misusing laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity.

“No one should be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The police should be keeping everyone safe, not stoking more discrimination.”

More: amnesty international, Asia, criminalisation of homosexuality, Family Resilience bill, Indonesia, jakarta, LGBT raids

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