Indonesian Police Arrest 58 At ‘Gay Spa’

Indonesian police have detained 58 men, including several foreigners, in a raid on a venue they claim is a “gay spa”.

Police raided a building in capital city Jakarta on Friday that houses a sauna and a gym after they received information from the public that it was being used for prostitution.

A Jakarta Police spokesperson told Agence France-Presse six foreigners were among those detained, including four men from China, one from Thailand and one from Holland.

Human Rights Watch said most of the men arrested were released the following day.

But five employees of the sauna who were arrested face charges of violating the country’s strict anti-pornography laws and could be sentenced to up to six years in prison, the group reported.

Homosexuality is legal everywhere in the Muslim-majority country except in the conservative Aceh province, but police have used the anti-pornography laws to target LGBTI people before.

According to Human Rights Watch, this is at least the fifth raid this year in an ongoing campaign targeting the private activity of the LGBTI community.

In March, vigilantes forcibly entered an apartment in Aceh and took two men to the police for allegedly having gay sex. Two months later, the two men were publicly caned.

In May, 141 people were arrested after police raided what they called a “gay sex party” at a sauna in Jakarta.

Indonesia lawmakers are also considering legislation that would ban all LGBTI-identifying characters from TV, and ban media reporting of LGBTI issues.

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