Sex outside marriage now punishable by jail time in Indonesia

Sex outside marriage now punishable by jail time in Indonesia
Sex outside marriage now punishable by jail time in Indonesia

Arabnews24.ca:Tuesday 6 December 2022 05:48 AM: Sex outside marriage has been banned in Indonesia, with anyone caught, including tourists in the Southeast Asian holiday destination, at risk of jail time.

MPs voted to make extramarital sex punishable by a year in prison and living together unwed by six months in sweeping revisions to the criminal code on Tuesday.

The laws will apply to both Indonesians and foreigners, including tourists to the hotspots of Bali and the islands off Lombok.

The amended code also bans the promotion of contraception, insulting the sitting president and spreading views counter to the secular national ideology, known as the Pancasila.

It will take three years for the laws to come into effect to allow time for related regulations to be drafted.

There are concerns the changes will scare away tourists.

Maulana Yusran, deputy chief of the tourism industry board, said the code was "totally counter-productive" at a time when the economy and tourism were starting to recover from the pandemic.

"We deeply regret the government have closed their eyes. We have already expressed our concern to the ministry of tourism about how harmful this law is," he said.

Only close relatives such as a spouse, parent or child can report complaints related to extramarital sex or cohabiting.

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This is a watering down of a previous version of the bill, the ratification of which was stalled in 2019 by nationwide protests.

Image: Protesters are camped outside the parliament building in the capital of Jakarta

The revisions have been condemned by rights groups, who said they were overly broad or vague and could penalise normal activities and threaten freedom of expression and privacy rights.

Some advocates hailed it as a victory for the country's LGBTQ minority.

Politicians eventually agreed to repeal an article proposed by Islamic groups that would have made gay sex illegal.

Abortion remains a crime under the revised code, but it introduces exceptions for women with life-threatening medical conditions and for rape survivors, provided that the foetus is less than 12 weeks.

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