Shocking images have emerged of three trans women hosed down by police on a public street in Indonesia.
Police in Lampung – a town on the south-eastern tip of the island, Sumatra – conducted a beach raid on Friday evening. During the raid they arrested three women they suspected of being transgender.
Police said they conducted the raid to ‘provide safety and maintain public order’.
Following the raid, police hosed the women people down in public using a fire truck as part of what it called a ‘mandatory bath’, or ghusl, according to VOA.
A ghusl is a full body purification for adult Muslims, usually before performing holy rituals. But it is also used to purify the body after sex, ejaculation or the completion of a menstrual cycle.
Local and international LGBTI advocates condemned the treatment of the women.
‘The humiliation of these three transgender women is appalling and constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which is absolutely prohibited under international law,’ said Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid.
‘Raiding people and using a fire truck to hose them down in public are totally unacceptable, as is any other act of violence and discrimination against transgender women or other LGBTI people.’
Police took photos of the women during the hosing and posted them to social media where they soon went viral.
Multiple arrests in a matter of days
Indonesia has cracked down on the LGBTI community since the beginning of 2016. It is not illegal to be LGBTI in Indonesia but conservative Islamic groups have gained more influence in the country.
But a recent wave of police and vigilante action has swept Indonesia, particularly in Sumatra.
A day after the trans women’s arrests, police arrested 10 women in nearby Padang on suspicion of being lesbians.
On October 19, the West Java Police arrested two men for running a Facebook group called ‘Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia’. They then charged the men under theElectronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law ‘for distributing electronic information which contain violation decency’.
On October 31, police in West Pasaman, West Sumatra also arrested two women for being in a lesbian relationship.
Earlier that month, they also arrested six people on suspicion of being trans women.