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Police monitor men on dating apps, arrest five for 'gay sex party' in Indonesia

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but police are using anti-pornography laws to target the LGBTI community

Police monitor men on dating apps, arrest five for 'gay sex party' in Indonesia
Five men arrested in a raid for having an alleged 'gay sex party' in Indonesia. | Photo: RadarPena

In a case of history repeating itself, five men have men have been arrested for having a ‘gay sex party’ in Indonesia.

The men were detained on Saturday night in the West Java province after being monitored on gay dating apps.

While homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia the men were arrested in a recent crackdown on the LGBTI community.

The group were arrested under the country’s anti-pornography laws.

‘The perpetrators will be charged with violating Article 36 of Law number 44/2008 on pornography, with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp 5 billion,’ Cianjur police chief Soliyah told CNN Indonesia.

Article 36 of the pornography law says  ‘any person displaying himself or any other person in a public performance or display depicting nudity, sexual exploitation, coercion or other pornographic actions’.

Local police alleged they raided the tourist villa in Cipanas where they found the men undressed. Police claimed to find alcohol, lubricant, condoms in the room.

One of the men found in the villa was underage, but none of the men were charged with statutory rape.

The police said they would continue to monitor ‘deviant’ behavior in the area and try to stop it before it happens.

‘We will continue to explore this sex deviation, including allegations of same-sex prostitution because it destroys the behavior of young people in the future,’ Soliyah said.

One of many, many raids in Indonesia

Saturday’s raid comes in a long line of ‘gay parties’ targeted in Indonesia, especially in the West Java province.

West Java is one of the most populated provinces in Indonesia with about 47 million people living there.

In May last year the West Java police set up a taskforce to monitor LGBTI people in the region.

‘I hope there are no followers in West Java, no gay or LGBT lifestyle or tradition,’ head of police Anton Charliyan told media at the time.

‘If there’s anyone following it, they will face the law and heavy social sanctions.’

Later that year 12 women suspected of being lesbians were forced to leave their homes in West Java.

Small victories mean nothing

In what was a hopeful sign that the tide was changing was the Indonesian Constitutional Court rejection in December of a petition to make gay and premarital sex punishable by up to five years in prison.

But online news site Coconuts Jakarta said the most recent raid showed ‘that Indonesian authorities do not need a clear legal basis to justify criminalizing homosexuality when they can just twist the country’s ambiguously worded pornography law towards that purpose’.

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