An Indonesian police officer was allegedly fired from the force over his sexual orientation in what is shaping up to be the latest high profile case of state-sanctioned discrimination against the protected minority.
As reported by Suara, the 30-year-old officer, identified as Brigadier TT, formerly of the Central Java Police, was dishonorably discharged for being gay in 2017 and is now challenging his dismissal in the province's Administrative Court (PTUN) in Semarang next week in a bid to restore his place in the force.
According to TT's lawyer, his client was arrested on February 14, 2016 under suspicion of extortion, albeit without a warrant.
"But during the interrogation, [TT] was instead questioned about his sexual orientation, which they said was deviant. There is actually no such thing as a deviant sexual orientation. [TT] only has a sexual orientation that puts him in the minority," TT's attorney, Ma'ruf Bajammal, told Suara.
On October 2017, an ethics committee at the Central Java Police decided that TT would be dishonorably discharged, and the decision was made final in December 2018, putting an end to his 10 years of service with the police force.
TT and his attorney filed a lawsuit against his dismissal to the Semarang PTUN in March and the first hearing for the case has been set for next Thursday (May 25).
When asked about the lawsuit, National Police Spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said the matter is being handled by the Central Java Police, but he defended the decision to fire TT due to police officers' legal obligation to abide by the police force's codes of ethics.
"It's written in Article 19 Verse 1 (of Law no. 2/2002 concerning State Police). In carrying out their duties and obligations, officers of the National Police must always act accordingly to legal norms and observe religious norms, polite behavior, moral standards, as well as uphold human rights," Dedi told Suara yesterday, without acknowledging that TT's dismissal is, by definition, a violation of his basic human right.
Human Rights Watch last year released a report highlighting a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in Indonesia. The recent increase in anti-LGBT hysteria, the worst the country has seen since the height of the last LGBT moral panic 2016, has been attributed by some to election year politics and cynical leaders looking to score easy electoral points with increasingly conservative voters by scapegoating the vulnerable minority group.