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Indonesia set to criminalize sex, cohabitation before marriage for citizens and tourists


Indonesia is on track to ban sex and cohabitation outside marriage with penalties of up to a year in prison, government officials say.

The new penal code, which would apply to citizens and foreigners, is expected to be passed on Dec. 15 or as early as this week, officials said. Reuters.

According to the law, those who have sex before marriage can be punished by up to a year in prison, while those who live together outside marriage face up to six months behind bars.

Under the new laws, single parents who have sex can report their own children, while adultery complaints can only be filed by a husband or wife.

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The legislation would have taken decades to develop. A previous draft was due to pass in 2019 but sparked massive protests in Muslim-majority towns across the country, according to the BBC.

The penal code also contains provisions prohibiting insulting the president and state institutions, as well as disseminating opinions that deviate from Indonesian state ideology. Civil rights groups have sounded the alarm over the possibility of misinterpretation.

” There is less [sic] 88 articles containing general provisions that could be misused and misinterpreted by authorities and the public to criminalize those who peacefully express their opinions or exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and association,” said Nurina Savitri, Head of campaign at Amnesty International Indonesia. The Guardian. Among them is a provision that criminalizes “unauthorized public demonstrations”, which could be used to ban peaceful assemblies, she said.

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Business groups have also raised concerns about the law’s potential impact on tourism and investment. Bali, for its part, has always ranked as a top destination in various announcements This year.

“For the business sector, the implementation of this customary law will create legal uncertainty and cause investors to reconsider investing in Indonesia,” Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, vice president of the Indonesian Employers’ Association, told Reuters. . She added that clauses related to morality “would do more harm than good”.

The new rules appear to take into account existing legislation in some parts of the country, such as Aceh province, which enforces strict Islamic law. Bivitri Susanti, a legal expert from Indonesia’s Jentera Law School, called the penal code a “huge setback” for the nation.

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“The state cannot manage morality. The government’s duty is not to arbitrate between conservative and liberal Indonesia,” Susanti said..

Image selected via Pixabay

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