Social Issues

Indonesian soldiers sentenced to prison for having same-sex relations

Jakarta, Nov 30 (EFE).- Two Indonesian soldiers were sentenced to seven months in prison for having same-sex relations, prohibited in the army, a ruling Amnesty International said was discriminatory against human rights on Wednesday.

The soldiers, stationed on the island of Java, were also expelled from the armed forces, whose code prohibits same-sex relations by classifying them as “inappropriate behavior.”

The magistrates of the military court of Surabaya, in Java, said in their decision, issued on Nov. 9 and that has now been made public, that the defendants committed “immoral” acts prohibited “by religious norms” and that with their actions they had failed the “dignity and honor” of the army.

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world, with the exception of Aceh province, where sharia or Islamic law is applied, although there is widespread discrimination against homosexual people, sometimes arrested during operations against pornography.

The decision of the military court, governed by different rules than civil courts, was criticized by Usman Hamid, director of Amnesty International in Indonesia.

“People cannot be criminally punished for being who they are and for having consensual sexual relations with those they love. It is a discriminatory decision that goes against basic human rights,” Hamid told Efe.

The ​​director said this “inhuman and degrading treatment” against homosexuals is a growing phenomenon since 2016, when government representatives and other officials made “reckless statements against homosexuals.”

“In a broader context, this is part of the current state of decline of Indonesian democracy,” says the activist.

Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono told Efe that the sentences against gay soldiers and police officers had been increasing in the last five years.

“The increasingly heavier penalties corresponds with the rise of right wing extremism in Indonesia with their homophobic rules,” Harsono added.EFE


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