Indonesia is expected to pass a strict new criminal code during the next two weeks. The code includes a jail sentence of up to a year for sex outside of marriage, presenting a clear threat to tourists holidaying in Bali.
The new law will apply to both Indonesians and visitors. Homosexuality is currently only illegal in religiously conservative Aceh province which enforces Sharia law. Although frowned on elsewhere in Indonesia, the tourist mecca of Bali, a majority Hindu province in a mainly Muslim country, is more tolerant.
But the new criminal code will apply across the entire country.
The new law will see both gay and straight sex criminalised outside of marriage. As Indonesian law does not allow same-sex marriage, the new law will in effect criminalise homosexuality.
However, the code only allows certain interested parties to report the ‘crime’, such as close relatives. But that would seem to open the door to blackmail. Tourists to Bali would want to be sure they had the consent of both anyone they had sex with, and their relatives. Or be 100% sure the relatives remained unaware of the sexual relationship.
The Indonesian government previously attempted to introduce the new criminal code in 2019. However, nationwide protests led them to abandon the introduction and undertake further public consultations.
Under the new code, insulting the President will also become a jailable offence, while there will be a provision for commuting some death sentences to life in prison for good behaviour over a period of ten years.
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