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Indonesian mayor orders police raids on LGBT community

Indonesia (C) Sateda : Depositphotos

The mayor of Depok city, in Indonesia, has demanded that police raid the LGBT+ community, to “stop the spread” of LGBT+ people.

Depok City is the hometown of the convicted serial rapist, Reynhard Sinaga and it is thought that the mayor has ordered the crackdown on LGBT+ people following the high profile court case, which saw Sinaga banged up for a minimum of 30 years.

According to Amnesty International, Mohammad Idris, the mayor of the city of Depok in West Java, asked municipal police to search rented residencies in order to stop what he called “immoral” acts.

Idris is part of the Prosperous Justice Party, an Islam-based political party in Indonesia, which has a political affiliation with the right-wing Muslim Brotherhood organisation.

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He labelled his crackdown a “prevention toward the spread of LGBTI” in the city, saying he had called for the raids in the wake of global media interest in Sinaga’s case.

Sinaga was convicted of multiple rapes and sexual assaults and is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the UK.

Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said,

“This latest vicious campaign against LGBTI people must stop. 

“Same-sex relations are protected under international law and there can be no justification for these hateful raids. 

“Criminalisation of homosexuality is discriminatory and violates the rights to private and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.

“The authorities in Indonesia repeatedly launch humiliating crackdowns on suspected same-sex activity, and misuse laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest LGBTI people.

“The Indonesian government should also repeal all laws that criminalise specific gender identities and expressions.”

Indonesia’s LGBT Crackdown

In recent years, LGBTI communities in Indonesia have faced increasing crackdowns from the authorities. 

In 2018, police in Padang, West Sumatra, arrested ten women and accused them of same-sex relations after one of them posted a photo of her kissing and hugging another woman on Facebook. In the same year in the neighbouring province of Lampung, local police raided a beach and arrested three people who they suspected of being transgender women in an operation said to “provide safety and maintain public order” in the city. And in October 2018, West Java Police arrested two men for administering a Facebook group called “Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia”, which has a total of 4,093 members.

Sharia Law?

Recently there has been a crackdown on homosexuality and transgender people, particularly in the Aceh Province, which uses Sharia law to govern its people, Sharia law outlaws same-sex sexual activity.

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There have also been reports where there have been raids on gay men in the Country’s capital city, Jarkata. In May 2017, dozens of men were arrested for allegedly attending a party at a sauna. Police raided the venue and captured 144 men, under broad pornography laws. The broadly written rules have been used to target the gay community in the past unfairly.

Punishment has ranged from 100 lashes, in public, in Aceh, to imprisonment and public humiliation in other areas.

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