Kanavino Ahmad Rizqo, Jakarta – Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) Secretary General Anwar Abbas has asked the Indonesian military (TNI) to take a firm position on soldiers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Abbas said this is simply to safeguard the TNI reputation so it is not destroyed in the eyes of the people.
"We ask the TNI leadership to take a firm position and confront this problem so that the TNI's image is not damaged in the eyes of the people and the nation not to mention the Sapta Marga [soldiers' oath] for soldiers which represents a point of honor and spirit for them", said Abbas in a press release on Friday October 16.
Cases of soldiers who have been prosecuted for having same-sex relationship surfaced after it was revealed by a Supreme Court (MA) military chamber junior judge Burhan Dahlan. Dahlan revealed that some 20 soldiers had been prosecuted over same-sex relationship but had been found not guilty by military courts.
"Clearly of course we deeply regret this. We are therefore asking the TNI leadership to step in to safeguard the dignity and reputation of the TNI because as far as we know up until now the TNI has applied firm punishments against rogue TNI officers who are proven to have committed legal violations ageist morality including among these being LGBT", said Abbas.
Abbas questioned the legal basis for releasing those involved in LGBT practices and touched on the values contained in the Sapta Marga.
"If it's true that the military court released those involved in LGBT practices then the basic question that we need to put to the judges who tried them is what did they do with the third point in the Sapta Marga which reads 'we as knights of Indonesia who trust in all mighty God'", said Abbas.
"This means that as knights, TNI soldiers must respect the religious teachings that they follow. And as we all already know there's no religion in this country which is acknowledged by the state which tolerates LGBT practices, so why did the military court release those who committed these deviant and shameful sexual practices", added Abbas.
Earlier, TNI headquarters was still trying to clarify the case of the 20 or so TNI soldiers who were prosecuted for having same-sex relationships but released.
"In relation to the statement made by head of the MA's military chamber on YouTube on military courts which found rogue soldiers who perpetrated LGBT not guilty, it's still in the process of being clarified and obtaining valid data", said TNI information centre head Colonel Sus Aidil in a press release on Thursday October 15. (knv/fjp)
[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second part of the article translated covered remarks by the TNI that it will act firmly against LGBT members in its ranks and is covered in an earlier Indoleft posting. The original title of the article was "Sekjen MUI Minta TNI Tegas soal Kasus Prajurit LGBT".]