Indonesian parliament passes law criminalizing adultery

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited and controversial revision to 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 of law and human rights Edouard Hiarij. The penal code will not apply immediately.
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 takes a maximum of three years to go from the old code to the new one.
A copy of the amended penal code obtained by The Associated Press includes several revised sections that make sex outside marriage punishable by one year in prison and cohabitation by six months, but adultery charges must be based on reports of policy filed by their spouse, parents or children. .
It also declares that the promotion of contraception and religious blasphemy are illegal, and it restores the ban on insulting a sitting president and vice president, state institutions, and national ideology. Insults to a sitting president must be reported by the president and can result in up to three years in prison.
Hiariej said the government had provided “the strictest possible explanation that distinguishes between insults and criticism”.
The code maintains 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 law. Medical Practice Act 2004.
Rights groups have criticized some of the revisions as too broad or vague and warned that rushing them into the new penal code could penalize normal activity and threaten free speech and privacy rights.
However, some advocates hailed it as a victory for the country’s LGBTQ minority. In a fierce deliberation session, lawmakers 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 within 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. .
The penal code had languished for decades as lawmakers in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country struggled to adapt its original culture and norms to the penal code, a living legacy of the Dutch colonial administration.
A previous bill was about to pass in 2019, but the president Joko Widodo urged lawmakers to delay a vote on the bill amid growing public criticism that led to nationwide protests as tens of thousands took to the streets. Opponents said it lacked transparency in the legislative process and contained articles that discriminate against minorities. Widodo had tasked Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly with getting input from various communities while lawmakers discussed the articles.
A parliamentary task force finalized the bill in November and lawmakers unanimously approved it on Tuesday.
The new code stipulates that the death penalty is imposed alternately with a probationary period. This means that a judge cannot immediately impose a death sentence. If within 10 years the convict behaves well, then the death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment or 20 years imprisonment.
The code also expands the existing blasphemy law and maintains a five-year prison term for deviations from the central tenets of the six recognized religions in Indonesia: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Citizens could face a 10-year sentence under the bill for associating with organizations that follow Marxist-Leninist ideology and a four-year sentence for propagating communism.
Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that laws criminalizing criticism of public leaders violate international law, and that the fact that certain forms of expression are considered insulting is not enough to justify restrictions or sanctions.
“The danger of oppressive laws is not that they are widely enforced, it’s that they offer the possibility of selective enforcement,” said Andreas Harsonosenior researcher on Indonesia within the group.
Many hotels, including in tourist areas like Bali and the Jakarta metropolis, risk losing their visitors, he added.
“These laws allow police to extort bribes, officials to imprison political enemies, for example, with the blasphemy law,” Harsono said.
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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl