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Gay man arrested in Indonesia shares his story from jail

Gay man arrested in Indonesia shares his story from jail

Police with the 14 men detained and some of the items they confiscated during the raid in Surabaya on April 30, 2017. Photo: SURYA.co.id

One of the hundreds of men rounded up in Indonesia’s crackdown on its LGBTI community has shared his story from jail.

Justin – not his real name – was arrested earlier this month along with other gay men in the capital, Jakarta.

His arrest brings the total of men targeted by police at gay parties and saunas to more than 200 just in 2017.

Justin said police were violent and intimidating when they raided the sauna.

‘They yelled “you’re all scum”,’ Justin told the News Lens.

One crime scene photographer even had the gall to suggest he should have gone to a massage parlour to pay for sex with women.

‘You could have gone to any of those places and you wouldn’t have had this problem,’ the photographer allegedly told Justin.

Even though it is not illegal to be gay in Indonesia the country has been experiencing a crackdown on LGBTI people.

There have been multiple mass arrests at gay parties and saunas, lesbians were kicked out of their home and in the most high profile case, two young men were sentenced to 85 lashes for homosexual sex in Aceh.

Police have justified the mass arrests of gay men by using the country’s anti-pornography law. If convicted, Jason faces up to 10 years in prison.

Support for Justin

Justin said since his arrest he has felt let down by Indonesia’s LGBTI community. On social media gay men said he was ‘an idiot’ for getting caught.

‘We talk about a LGBT “community”,’ he said.

‘But we hide. We won’t help each other make our lives better.’

Thankfully Justin’s family have been supportive since arrest, even though they didn’t know he was gay. But he’s worried about his future after he gets out of jail.

‘My mother cried for a few weeks but she’s fine now. I’m still her son,’ he said.

‘When I apply for a job they’re going to Google me and this will come up. I have to fight.’