APSN Banner

Jailing of gay Indonesian soldiers stokes LGBT persecution fears

UCA News - June 8, 2022

Katharina Reny Lestari – Indonesia's military has sentenced two soldiers to eight and nine months in prison respectively for having sex with multiple men.

The sentences were condemned by rights groups, who said the punishments were another attack on the LGBT community in a country where homosexuality is legal.

Both soldiers, who were not named, were also kicked out of the army following two recent court martials – one in Aceh in Sumatra and the other in capital Jakarta – which were made public on June 6.

The soldier in Aceh was found guilty of having sex with four men and making a sex video call to a policeman, while the Jakarta court martial found the other soldier guilty of having sex with at least eight men.

"They showed complete disregard for existing regulations and gave into lust without thinking about the consequences," a military spokesman said.

Homosexuality is banned in the Indonesian military despite it being legal in civilian life, except in Aceh which practices Sharia law.

Both court martials said the actions of the two soldiers had tainted the image of the military.

Rights groups called the sentences harsh considering the legal status of homosexuality.

"These sentences are not fair at all. Homosexuality is not a crime. These soldiers committed no crime. The TNI (Indonesian military) is writing a dark chapter in its history," Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch, told UCA News.

He said it was another example of how the LGBT community was being targeted in Indonesian society.

Rights groups fear attempts to revise the country's colonial-era Criminal Code will see provisions that will further alienate and punish LGBT people.

The Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's top Muslim clerical body, however, welcomed the punishments.

Secretary-general Amirsyah Tambunan said the military had displayed a commitment and strict action to deal with a "social ill."

He called on Indonesian society as a whole "to be proactive in taking preventive measures, including educating people on the LGBT menace."

A recent opinion poll revealed that 87 percent of Indonesians see LGBT people as a threat. It also found that 81 percent think that homosexuality is prohibited by religion, 80 percent object to having LGBT people as neighbors and 90 percent do not want them to become public officials.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/jailing-of-gay-indonesian-soldiers-stokes-lgbt-persecution-fears/9757