The Indonesian Parliament has criminalized extramarital sex and cohabitation. The ban will also apply to foreigners, including Russian tourists who are popular on the island of Bali. The ban is enshrined in the country’s new penal code, which Indonesia’s parliament adopted on December 6.
For extramarital sex (both before marriage and adultery), you can be imprisoned for up to one year, for cohabitation – up to six months in prison or a fine.
At the same time, only close relatives (the perpetrator’s spouse, parents or children) will be able to report a “crime”. The ban will not be in effect for the next three years as guidelines for the enforcement of the penal code are developed.
The new law also prohibits the promotion of birth control pills. Criminal liability for abortion is reserved, but allows exceptions for cases where the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother or where the pregnancy is the result of rape.
“We are proud that we have a penal code that aligns with Indonesian values,” said Deputy Justice Minister Edward Omar Sharif Harij.
According to him, updating the penal code has been discussed since 1945, when the country declared its independence from the Netherlands.
What other prohibitions appeared?
In addition, the Indonesian Penal Code prohibits insulting the president and state organs. Expressing any opinion “contrary to Indonesia’s state ideology” is also prohibited. CNN Indonesia writes that all Indonesian parliamentarians welcome the update of the penal code.
The new law criminalizes:
– insulting the president and (or) vice president (for this you can get up to three years in prison and a fine of 200 million Indonesian rupees – about 800 thousand rubles at the exchange rate at the time of publication). At the same time, such an action may be permissible in the “public interest”, that is, in order to criticize the authorities;
– defamation of state institutions (up to 1.5 years in prison and the sentence may be increased if this creates unrest);
– treason (the death penalty can be applied if treason with the aim of overthrowing the government carries a prison sentence of up to 12 years and leads to the subordination of all or part of Indonesia to another state, come for it);
– organize rallies without prior notice;
— distribution of fake news (up to six years in prison and a fine of 500 million rupees (about 2 million rubles) if disinformation causes riots);
– atheist propaganda. You can get five years in prison for blasphemy, and up to 10 years for links to pro-communist organizations. So far, the Criminal Code has only prohibited atheism and the rejection of religion. Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are legally recognized in the country. At the same time, the code remains the norm, providing for imprisonment for “black magic”.
“The old law was Dutch heritage… It is no longer valid,” said Bambang Wurianto, chairman of the parliamentary committee that drafted the new law.
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch stated that adopting the changes would deal “a major blow to Indonesian democracy”.
what about tourism
Reuters writes that local businesses are concerned that the new law will affect tourism and foreign investment. Indonesia is a popular tourist destination, and criminalizing extramarital sex may deter travelers.
“We are confident that the new regulations will force investors to reconsider investing in Indonesia,” said Cinta Vijaya Sukamdani, vice president of the Indonesian Employers Association.
He also stated that the ban on extramarital and premarital sex would “do more harm than good”, especially for the tourism industry.
Earlier, Indonesian authorities had predicted that by 2025, the tourist flow to the island of Bali (the country’s most popular destination) would recover from the pandemic and reach 6 million people.
Lawyer Lilia Patrick, in an interview with the “Moscow Speaks” radio station, noted that it is already difficult for lawyers to pull violators out of local prisons, and that business will increase with the advent of the ban on extramarital sex.
“There is a huge flow of tourists from Russia, young couples. Actually, they are not married. This may also apply to citizens of the Russian Federation. If a married couple is traveling without a stamp in their passport, get a notarized copy of the marriage certificate. Getting out of prisons in Indonesia is not an easy story,” said the lawyer.
He advised that if the couple did not have a stamp in their passport, they should choose other countries for a joint vacation.
They also commented on the innovations in the secular world: TV presenter Ksenia Borodina wrote on the Telegram channel that “Bali has ceased to be magnificent.”
Second attempt to adopt the Criminal Code
Indonesia’s parliament approved a new penal code after three years of deliberation. In 2019, authorities were to adopt a different version of the code, which caused public discontent and sparked protests. Tens of thousands of people attended the rallies.
Reuters noted that these actions had become one of the largest since 1998 – then protests and riots were provoked by the economic crisis and massive unemployment, leading to the resignation of President Haji Suharto.
Sex outside of marriage is illegal in Afghanistan, where offenders can be stoned to death. In Qatar, this “violation” can be sentenced to 7 years in prison and even hugging in public is prohibited. Sex outside of marriage is also a crime in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.