A group of men in Kuningan, Indonesia have been arrested for hosting what police have referred to as a ‘gay party’. Dozens were arrested, and nine suspected organisers have been detained after police raided the apartment on Tuesday, September 1. The police reported in a press conference they confiscated several condoms but no illegal items such as drugs. The nine men have been charged under Indonesian article 296 of the criminal law code which prosecutes individuals who ‘commit or facilitate an obscene act with another person’; the consequence is up to 14 months imprisonment or a fine.
Consensual same-sex relations are not punishable by law in the country, however pornography censoring regulations are often applied to LGBTQ+ people although it reportedly does not relate to any actions carried out by the arrested men. Discrimination and attacks against LGBTQ+ Indonesians has increased in recent years.
Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia‘s Executive Director, said: ‘There is no legal justification for criminalising the behaviour these men are accused of. Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone. The authorities are being discriminatory and violating the human rights to privacy and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.
‘Raids like these send a terrifying message to LGBTQ+ people. We call on the authorities to release all people arrested in the party and drop all charges against them. They must also stop these arbitrary and humiliating raids and stop misusing laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity.”
The organisation believes that the Indonesian governing body should be taking greater measures to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and violence.