More than a hundred men arrested in Jakarta after an alleged gay sex party
Human rights activists say it is part of an ongoing crackdown on the country's LGBT community
A raid by police on a gym and sauna in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sunday evening is being seen by some as the latest evidence of a crackdown on the rights of the country’s LGBT population.
Police detained 141 men as part of the raid on the establishment in North Jakarta, said Polda Metro Jaya Kombes Argo Yuwono, the head of public relations for the Jakarta Police Department.
Ten people have been charged with violating Indonesia’s pornography laws, with police pointing to evidence including condoms, CCTV recordings and mattresses. The rest remain detained and are under investigation, though not officially charged, Argo said.
The sauna was allegedly holding a sex party, promoted as “The Wild One,” for which guests were charged 185,000 Indonesian rupees (US$14) to attend, Argo said.
“We are still … examining the perpetrators one by one, this takes time,” Argo told CNN Indonesia Monday.
Homosexual sex is not illegal in the majority of Indonesia, except in the extremely conservative province of Aceh. Jakarta is not part of any province; it is controlled by the central government.
‘So much fear’
The raid is just the latest in a series of anti-LGBT actions by Indonesian authorities, which Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told CNN was having a chilling effect on the community.
“So much fear, I meet them almost every day if not every other day. I’ve been helping many of them to escape arrest or to deal with abuses, give them counseling,” he said.
In the past week, two gay men were sentenced to 85 lashes for having sexual relations in conservative Aceh – a verdict condemned by human rights activists.
The sentence will be carried out on Tuesday, May 23.
Meanwhile the Indonesian Constitutional Court is currently hearing a petition by a conservative group to recommend changing the country’s criminal code to make homosexual sex illegal.
“LGBT rights is going hand in hand with women’s rights, it is going hand in hand with religious freedoms for minorities, they are all in slow decline in Indonesia,” Harsono said.
“At the same time, sadly, we are seeing the rise of Islamic fundamentalism … in Indonesia.”
Journalist Tomi Soetjipto in Jakarta contributed to this report