Indonesia: Sex outside marriage to be a punishable offense
The parliament of Indonesia is all prepared to pass a new criminal code this month that will make sex outside marriage a criminal offense. Also, any kind of outlaw insults against the Indonesian president or state institutions will also be considered a crime. The probable code has alarmed human rights campaigners.
The deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, has said that the new criminal code can be anticipated to pass by 15 December. “We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he said. If passed, the new criminal code will be applicable on Indonesian citizens as well as foreign visitors. “Sex outside marriage, which under the code could be reported only by limited parties such as close relatives, could lead to up to a year in prison, while unmarried couples would be banned from living together,” a source has explained.
“This is dangerous not only because of the threat of punishment, but it can [give] legitimacy to the vigilante community,” said Muhamad Isnur, the chair of the Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation.
Furthermore, any kind of insults towards the president, that can only be reported by the president according to the code, would lead to a maximum jail term of three years. Insulting state institutions and expressing any views that are against the state ideology of the country would also be considered a crime.
Nurina Savitri, a campaign manager at Amnesty International Indonesia, said, “There are least 88 articles containing broad provisions that could be misused and misinterpreted by both authorities and the public to criminalise those who peacefully express their opinions or exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and association.” Savitri has further raised concerns over a “provision that would criminalise unsanctioned public demonstrations” that can cause public unrest.
Andreas Harsono, of Human Rights Watch, has raised concerns that the new code would be a “huge setback to Indonesian democracy”.