Indonesia’s Parliament passes law criminalizing adultery

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code that criminalizes extramarital sex for citizens and visiting foreigners.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code that criminalizes extramarital sex for citizens and visiting foreigners.

After ratification, the new penal code must be signed by the President, according to the Deputy Minister for Law and Human Rights Edward Hiariej. The penal code does not apply directly.

He said the new law “has a lot of implementing regulations that need to be worked out, so it’s impossible in a year,” but it will take a maximum of three years to transition from the old code to the new one.

A copy of the amended criminal code obtained by The Associated Press includes several revised articles that make sex outside marriage punishable by a year in prison and cohabitation of six months, but adult charges must be based on police reports filed by their spouse, parents or children were introduced. .

It also says the promotion of contraception and religious blasphemy are illegal, and it restores a ban on insulting a sitting president and vice president, state institutions and national ideology. Offenses against a sitting president must be reported by the president and can lead to up to three years in prison.

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Hiariej said the government would “give the strictest possible explanation, distinguishing between insults and criticism.”

The code states that abortion is a crime, but it adds exceptions for women with life-threatening medical conditions and for rape, provided the fetus is less than 12 weeks old, in line with what is already regulated in the 2004 Medical Practice Law.

Rights groups criticized some of the versions as too broad or vague and warned that they penalize ordinary activities in the new criminal code and threaten freedom of expression and privacy rights.

However, some advocates hailed it as a victory for the country’s LGBTQ minority. Lawmakers during a heated deliberation session finally agreed to repeal an article proposed by Islamic groups that would have made gay sex illegal.

The code would also preserve the death penalty in the criminal justice system despite calls from the National Human Rights Commission and other groups to abolish the death penalty, as dozens of other countries have done.

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The penal code had languished for decades while lawmakers in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation struggled with how to adapt their native culture and norms to the criminal code, a living legacy of Dutch colonial rule.

An earlier bill was poised for passage in 2019, but President Joko Widodo urged lawmakers to delay a vote on the bill amid public criticism that led to nationwide protests when tens of thousands of people took to the streets have gone Opponents said the law lacks transparency and contains articles that discriminate against minorities. Widodo instructed Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly to receive input from various communities while lawmakers debated the articles.

A parliamentary task force finalized the bill in November and lawmakers unanimously passed it on Tuesday.

The new code states that the death penalty will be imposed alternatively with a probationary period. This means that a judge cannot immediately impose a death sentence. If the convict behaves well in a period of 10 years, the death sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment or 20 years imprisonment.

The code also expands the existing blasphemy law and maintains a five-year prison sentence for deviations from the central tenets of Indonesia’s six recognized religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Under the bill, citizens could face a 10-year sentence for joining organizations that follow Marxist-Leninist ideology and a four-year sentence for spreading communism.

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Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that laws punishing criticism of public leaders are against international law, and the fact that certain forms of expression are considered offensive is not enough to justify restrictions or punishments.

“The danger of oppressive laws is not that they are applied broadly, it is that they provide avenues for selective enforcement,” said Andreas Harsono, a senior Indonesia researcher at the group.

Many hotels, even in tourism areas such as Bali and metropolitan Jakarta, risk losing their visitors, he added.

“These laws allow the police to extort bribes, let officials imprison political enemies, for example, with the blasphemy law,” said Harsono.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation and third largest democracy, is an outpost of democracy in a Southeast Asian neighborhood of authoritarian governments.

Niniek Karmini, Associated Press


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