Indonesian police arrest 56 men in raid on ‘gay’ party with some facing up to 15 years jail
Indonesian police arrested 56 men in a raid on a ‘gay’ party and have charged nine of them under pornography laws.
Officers have released the remaining 47 men. But the nine men they claim organized the party may face up to 15 years in prison and a fine.
The raid took place in Kuningan, a business district in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta on Saturday (29 August).
Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia. However police have a history of persecuting LGBT+ people. In 2017 they arrested 141 men in a raid on a gay sauna.
In this case, organizers promoted the party as a ‘gathering of men to promote independence’. The party had a red and white dress code, perhaps in honor of Indonesia’s independence day, on 17 August.
Party-goers at the private venue had to pay a registration fee of IDR150,000 to IDR 300,000 (around $10 to $20, €9 to €18).
The promotional material showed organizers banned drugs and weapons.
Not for profit but for pleasure
Jakarta police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said they are still investigating if other people were involved.
Meanwhile the police claim each of the nine men they have charged had different roles in the party. Some picked up guests, some handled security. They have identified one by his initials – TRF – who they claim headed the organizing committee.
Yunus claimed the party included sexually-themed games, which TRF had learned about in Thailand.
Moreover Yunus confirmed that the event wasn’t run for profit but merely for fun:
‘They didn’t look for profit but the pleasure from their community.’
Meanwhile the police also said they had given the men a medical examination. Tests showed one was HIV positive.
Yunus added: ‘Their average ages are above 20 years old, several of them are above 40 years old. [They] all are from Jakarta and some of them are even married [to women].’
Officers say they confiscated condoms and sexual performance enhancers at the party to use as evidence. They were even planning to reconstruct the raid at Jakarta Metro Police headquarters.
Indonesia’s threatens ‘exorcisms’ for LGBT+ people
Homosexuality is only illegal in one Indonesian province – Aceh. There authorities punish it with flogging.
However, Indonesian politicians have been stirring up anti-LGBT+ sentinment. In February they proposed a new law which would make homosexuality illegal across the Southeast Asian nation. The law would force people into LGBT+ ‘conversion camps’ to undergo ‘exorcisms’.
Indeed police have formed a special task force to persecute the LGBT+ community in the guise of ‘investigating homosexuality’.
Meanwhile Amnesty International has condemned the arrests. The organization’s Indonesia executive director, Usman Hamid 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 LGBTI 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 police should be keeping everyone safe, not stoking more discrimination.’
Published on GayStarNews Read the original article
Author: Tris Reid-Smith