Indonesia police have arrested 58 men, including several foreigners, in a raid on a gay sauna.
In Jakarta, police raided a building that houses a sauna and gym after a member of the public claimed it was being used as a brothel.
‘We secured 51 and seven employees for allegedly providing pornographic services,’ Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said.
Four men from China, one from Thailand and one from the Netherlands were among those detained.
Six of the 58 detained will be charged under the ‘anti-pornography law’, and could face up to six years in prison.
A picture, released by police, shows dozens of gay men waiting in the station. They hide their faces because they are afraid being exposed could mean they become targets of mob violence.
One man, who we will call Mawar, has previously gone to the sauna and knows several of the men arrested.
‘In Indonesia, there are no gay clubs or bars. We are forced in to house parties or saunas – but they are not safe spaces,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘Every LGBTI person in Indonesia knows you can be arrested at any time’
‘Every Indonesian LGBTI person knows you can be arrested at any time, for any reason, under any “moral” law.’
Mawar has said he has contacted human rights groups to help free his friends.
In May in a similar incident, 141 men were arrested at a gay sauna.
That same month, the police of West Java, Indonesia created a taskforce to monitor the LGBTI community.
In Aceh, homosexuality is punishable with death. While it is technically legal in the rest of the country, LGBTI people are arrested and jailed under other ‘debauchery’ laws.
Indonesia considers punishing gay sex with 15 years in prison
However, Indonesia is considering banning gay sex entirely following calls from conservative religious groups.
Family Love Alliance, a group of far-right wing Islamic activists, wants the courts to introduce a ban on consensual sex between adults of the same gender. Prison sentences are suggested to go up to 15 years.
It comes as the country has banned gay dating apps, and earlier this year Indonesia’s leading psychiatric body classified homosexuality and transgender as ‘mental disorders’ that can be ‘cured’.