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Calls for investigation of Indonesian police gay raid

Human rights activists have called for government investigation after Indonesian police last week arrested nine men in a raid on a private party.

The men were charged under the country’s anti-LGBT ‘pornography’ laws for organising the party at a Jakarta hotel.

Dozens more attendees were detained but released without charge.

Human Rights Watch has called for the Indonesian government to investigate the actions of the police in breaking up the party and arresting the men.

“This latest raid fits into a disturbing pattern of Indonesian authorities using the pornography law as a weapon to target LGBT people,” said Kyle Knight, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“The government has been inciting hostility toward LGBT people for several years, and there is no accountability for abuses such as police raids on private spaces.”

While Indonesia is not among the countries still overtly criminalising homosexuality, the law offers LGBT people no protection from discrimination.

Earlier this year, advocates called for the Australian government to condemn Indonesia’s proposed ‘Family Resilience’ legislation that would see gay people sent to ‘rehabilitation camps’.

Homophobic and transphobic sentiment have increased over recent years, with discriminatory application of the law.

A number of major police raids on gay venues and events have been under the pretext of enforcing laws against pornography and sexually suggestive performance.

One raid on a gay club in 2017 resulted in 58 arrests.

In the same year, 10 men were each sentenced to two to three years in prison after a raid on a sauna, in which more than 100 others were also arrested.

In January of this year, the mayor of one town ordered police to raid private homes to find evidence of “immoral acts” and “prevent the spread of LGBT”.

Human Rights Watch has called on the Indonesian government to “halt arbitrary raids on private spaces, investigate those that have taken place, and punish those who took part in the raids and those responsible in their chain of command”.

“The combination of exploiting the discriminatory pornography law and a lack of accountability for police misconduct has proved to be both dangerous and durable,” Knight said.

“So long as the government permits police raids on private gatherings under a discriminatory law, it will fail to curb anti-LGBT harassment and intimidation.”

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