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Indonesia cracks down on gay sex in the armed forces

Indonesia cracks down on gay sex in the armed forces

  • The country is increasingly using its laws to persecute LGBT+ people, having rounded up 56 men at a private party in September.
Indonesian soldiers on a training exercise.

Amnesty International has condemned the Indonesia Military for jailing and dismissing a soldier because he had gay sex with another officer.

The Semarang Military Court, on Indonesia’s main island of Java, tried the chief private, identified only as P. It found him guilty of violating Article 103 of the Military Criminal Code on disobedience to service orders because he had sex with a subordinate.

The court sentenced him to one year in jail and dishonorably discharged him from the army.

Now Amnesty International Indonesia has condemned the Indonesian Military (TNI) for its policy on gay sex in the ranks. Executive director Usman Hamid said:

‘This unjust sentence should be immediately overturned and the individual immediately released. No one should be persecuted based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

‘It further enshrines discrimination and risks inciting violence against perceived LGBT people inside the military and in wider society.’

Moreover, Amnesty also highlighted other cases of LGBT+ persecution in the armed forces. 

It said that in March a court convicted military officer in Denpasar, on the holiday island of Bali, of having sex with three men. The officer appealed but the Surabaya Military High Court backed the martial court in Denpasar.

Meanwhile the TNI responded that it would always punish homosexuality in the force.

Further crack down on homosexuality

Technically, homosexuality is only illegal in a few regions of Indonesia. The most notably is the province of Aceh where the authorities punish gay sex with flogging.

However, the authorities frequently use other laws, including one against pornography, to round up and prosecute LGBT+ people.

This August, they arrested 56 men on a raid on a private gay party in the capital, Jakarta. Likewise, in 2017 they arrested 141 men in a raid on a gay sauna.

Meanwhile, Indonesian politicians have been stirring up anti-LGBT+ sentinment and promising even tougher laws against gay people.

In February they proposed a new law which would make homosexuality illegal across the Southeast Asian nation. The law would force people into LGBT+ ‘conversion camps’ to undergo ‘exorcisms’.

Moreover, police have formed a special task force to persecute the LGBT+ community in the guise of ‘investigating homosexuality’.

Like the military, the police also punish homosexuality within their own ranks. They justify this by citing the 2014 National Police code of ethics. It states that all personnel should follow moral, religious and legal norms as well as local wisdom.