Things for LGBT+ people in Indonesia are going from bad to worse after nine men arrested in Jakarta are arrested for what the police are calling a “gay party”.

Nine men have been arrested in Indonesia after police say they were holding a “gay party”, this is despite that homosexuality is not illegal except in the Aceh region. There were apparently 12 men at the party, nine of them were detained as the “organisers”.

The nine were charged under article 296 of the Criminal Code Law that says “Any person who commits or facilitates obscene act with another person, shall be punished by a maximum one year and four months imprisonment and a maximum fine of IDR15.000″

The police also charged them with article 33 in conjunction with article 7 and or article 36 in conjunction with article 10 of the Pornography Law. 

Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid says that there is no legal justification for criminalising these men and that raids like these were sending “a terrifying message to LGBTI people”.

In a statement, Hamind said, “There is no legal justification for criminalising the behaviour these men are accused of. Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone. 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. 

“Raids like these send a terrifying message to LGBTI people. 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. 

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“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.”

Homosexuality is not illegal, but authorities are finding other ways to criminalise gay people

Consensual same-sex relations are not crimes under the Indonesian Criminal Code. However, the Pornography Law has been widely applied and doesn’t relate to any of the actions or behaviours actually carried out by the people arrested or harassed under this law. 

In Indonesia, LGBTI people are frequently harassed, intimidated, criminalized, and even killed, simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, according to Amnesty International.

Increase intimidation and attacks

In the last few years, intimidation, attacks and discrimination against LGBT+ people in Indonesia has increased after several public officials made inaccurate or misleading statements on the grounds of “defending the country’s public morality and public security.”