Two Indonesian soldiers kicked out of army and jailed for gay sex


Stock photo of Indonesian soldiers lined up
Image: Kurniawan3115/Wikimedia Commons

Two soldiers in Indonesia have been booted out of the army and jailed for seven months for consensual gay sex, which is banned by the country’s military.

Same-sex conduct is not illegal in most of Indonesia – with the exception of the ultra-conservative province of Aceh – but it’s illegal for armed forces personnel and police.

“The defendants’ acts of committing deviant sexual behaviour with the same sex was very inappropriate,” the Supreme Court ruling read, AFP reported.

“Because as soldiers, the defendants should be an example for the people in the defendants’ surrounding environment. The defendants’ actions were very much against the law or any religious provisions.”

Amnesty International says in recent years, at least 15 of Indonesia’s military or police had been sacked for having consensual same-sex relations.

“This has been the increasing pattern among the Indonesian armed forces and police in recent years,” Indonesia director Usman Hamid told AFP.

“Members [are] being fired or taken to court just for who they are, who they love, who they like.”

Usman said criminalising consensual same-sex conduct violates rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination as stipulated in international human rights covenants.

“Indonesia has to repeal this archaic and discriminatory provision in the criminal code and other regulations. The government must reform when it comes to the rights of LGBT people,” he added.

Amnesty has warned in Indonesia “inflammatory statements” by political leaders were further stigmatising minority groups, including the LGBTIQ+ community.

Indonesia law banning sex outside marriage causes outrage

Moreover, Indonesia may ratify sweeping changes to its criminal code this week, including a contentious law penalising sex outside of marriage with up to one year in jail and prohibit cohabitation between unmarried couples.

The law, if passed, would apply to Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike, including tourists to the hotspots including Bali. Same-sex marriages are not recognised anywhere in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s government tried to pass a previous draft of the code in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests with tens of thousands taking part in demonstrations.

Already, LGBT Indonesians face widespread discrimination and authorities have used vague anti-pornography laws to arrest gay people and shut down events.

However Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province enforces strict Islamic law and homosexuality is illegal.

In 2021, neighbours reported two men to police for having sex with each other. They were punished with 77 lashes from a police officer in a public caning.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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