Police in Indonesia detained dozens of men who attended a “gay party” in Jakarta after they raided a hotel.
Jakarta police spokesperson Yusri Yunus told the Associated Press officers arrested nine people suspected of organising the party, held on Saturday.
Police released forty-seven others who participated in the event.
But Yunus said police will charge the nine men under the country’s strict anti-pornography law. That law carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine.
Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian law, except in the conservative Aceh province.
However Indonesian leaders have ramped up homophobic rhetoric in recent years. Authorities have also targeted the country’s LGBTIQ community in police raids.
Human rights groups warn they use Indonesia’s vaguely-worded anti-pornography laws to persecute the LGBTIQ community.
Amnesty International Indonesia condemned the latest arrests, saying the raids have “no legal justification”.
“Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone,” spokesperson Usman Hamid said.
“The authorities are being discriminatory and violating the human rights to privacy and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.
“Raids like these send a terrifying message to LGBTI people. We call on the authorities to release all people arrested in the party and drop all charges against them.
“They must also stop these arbitrary and humiliating raids and stop misusing laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity.
“The police should be keeping everyone safe, not stoking more discrimination.”
Indonesia lawmakers want to sent ‘deviant’ homosexuals to rehab
The United Nations Human Rights Council has called on Indonesia to release people detained for being LGBTIQ and also tackle homophobic stigma.
In February, lawmakers proposed a “Family Resilience” law targeting homosexuality as “deviant behaviour”.
Under the proposed law, authorities would send “offenders” to state-run rehab centres for treatment.
The law would also require families “experiencing crises due to sexual deviation” to report family members for “treatment”.
Many in Indonesia falsely believe homosexuality is a disease. Some LGBTIQ Indonesians also undergo dangerous conversion therapy, which can include gay “exorcisms”.
In April, a trans woman from North Jakarta was beaten and burned alive by a mob who accused her of theft.
Advocates were outraged when police said the perpetrators would escape murder charges after alleging the woman’s death was unintentional.
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