Two teens suspected of being gay were arrested after being found hugging in Indonesia last week.
The two women, 18 and 19 years old, will be sent for ‘rehabilitation’ after Sharia police officers found them guilty of being too ‘intimate’ together.
Sharia police chief Evendi Latief has claimed the teens ‘confessed’ from Banda Aceh to being a lesbian couple. They had also confirmed the authorities had looked through their smartphones and discovered pictures they could use as ‘evidence’.
The girls were held for four days for questioning before being handed over to the regular police.
Latief said they will not be charged as Aceh’s new criminal code has yet to take effect. If they had been caught later this month, under the city’s new Sharia bylaws, any person found guilty of homosexuality could face up to 100 cane lashes, a maximum fine of 1,000 grams of fine gold or imprisonment of up to 100 months.
Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesia’s national criminal code.
But what will happen to them is they will undergo ‘rehabilitation’ – subject to definitely harmful and potentially torturous ‘treatment’ in order to ‘cure’ them of their sexuality. The authorities have not made clear what this will involve.
Human Rights Watch is calling on Indonesian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the two women.
The charity says the women were arrested contrary to the rights to nondiscrimination and fundamental freedoms under Indonesia’s constitution and international human rights law.
The arrest of two women in Aceh for everyday behavior is an outrageous abuse of police power that should be considered a threat to all Indonesians,’ said Graeme Reid, the LGBT rights program director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The Indonesian government needs to press Aceh to repeal its discriminatory new by-laws.’
‘Gay cure’ therapy is considered to be extremely harmful, both mentally and physically, by the World Health Organization and they have advised that it should not be attempted by anyone. Such ‘treatments’ range from prayer therapy to electric shock torture, rape and starvation.