Gay Indonesians face homophobic backlash after rapist’s conviction


indonesia national reynhard sinaga british britain prolific rapist serial rape convicted uk
Photo: Greater Manchester Police

Human rights groups have condemned a mayor in Indonesia for ordering anti-LGBTIQ raids in the wake of Indonesian-born Reynhard Sinaga’s UK rape conviction.

This month, a UK court jailed the serial rapist for life after he drugged and assaulted more than 100 men. As a result, the student’s crimes have sparked a homophobic backlash in his home city of Depok in West Java.

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Depok’s mayor Mohammad Idris has asked police to target rented residencies to find “deviant… LGBT behaviour,” according to The Jakarta Post.

Idris said city agencies will prevent the “spread of LGBT” in order to “strengthen families’ resilience and especially protect the children.”

“Concerned officials can also form crisis centers in Depok specifically for LGBT victims,” he said.

“[They can also] approach related institutions to work together in educating the people, especially the people who are pro-LGBT in the name of human rights.”

While homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia, LGBTIQ communities have faced increasing crackdowns from authorities in recent years.

And local LGBTIQ activists are reporting increased harassment in the wake of Reynhard Sinaga’s highly-publicised conviction.

No justification for ‘hateful’ Indonesia raids

In a statement, a coalition of 16 LGBTIQ and human rights groups condemned both Sinaga and the use of his crimes to incite hatred.

“Sexual violence can be committed by and to anyone regardless of class, level of education, religion, age, sex and sexual orientation,” the groups said.

“Blaming sexual orientation for one’s criminal actions is an attempt to turn the issue of sexual violence into hate against vulnerable LGBT groups.”

Amnesty International Indonesia’s director Usman Hamid said the city’s “vicious campaign” against LGBTIQ people must stop.

“Same-sex relations are protected under international law. [There] can be no justification for these hateful raids,” Hamid said.

“Criminalisation of homosexuality is discriminatory.

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“[It] violates the rights to private and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.

“The authorities in Indonesia repeatedly launch humiliating crackdowns on suspected same-sex activity.

“[They also] misuse laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest LGBTI people.”

He also called on the Indonesian government to repeal all laws criminalising gender diverse communities.

Elsewhere, authorities in Bali have investigated at least four tourist villas for allegedly “marketing to the gay community”.

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