In The South

141 men arrested in Indonesian sauna raid

Besi Besemar May 23, 2017

On Sunday May 21 2017 at 8pm, police raided the Atlantis Gym & Sauna in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta at 8pm in the evening arresting 141 men claiming they were engaging in a “gay sex party”.

Those arrested were detained by the North Jakarta District Police. Indonesia does not have laws criminalising homosexuality, except in the Aceh province, however the country does have severe anti-pornography laws which have recently been used to target LGBT+ websites and activities.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commenting on the arrests and the wider environment facing LGBT+ people in Indonesia said:

Jessica Stern
Jessica Stern

“OutRight’s research, Creeping Criminalisation, shows that regional regulations are departing from national laws and are heavily influenced by fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. These laws are targeting women’s dress codes, any women having relationships outside of marriage, and LGBT+ people, criminalising them on grounds of breaching public morality.

“What is happening in Indonesia is dangerous and scary. Officials are using their own personal biases on morality to oppress different groups and especially LGBT+ people. In the past, the LGBT+ community has experienced more tolerance in Indonesian society, but particularly over the past 18 months crackdowns have increased and the situation has become much worse for LGBT+ people. LGBT+ Indonesians are equal citizens and must not be singled out and oppressed simply for who they love or who they are.”