Second Indonesian student dies in legal-reform protests

KENDARI, Indonesia (AFP) – A second Indonesian student protester has died in demonstrations against a raft of divisive legal reforms, including banning pre-marital sex and weakening the anti-graft agency, sources said, as fresh unrest was expected.

The 19-year-old engineering student died in hospital from blunt-force injuries to his head sustained in riots that erupted in Kendari city on Sulawesi island on Thursday, local hospital director Sjarif Subijakto told AFP.

The victim’s relatives also confirmed the teen’s death early Friday. The precise circumstances surrounding his death were not clear.

“His father has accepted his death, he just wants to know how it happened,” relative Rahmat, who gave only his first name, told AFP in Kendari.

“But his mother is still in shock.”

It was the second fatality directly linked to days of street battles across the Southeast Asian nation that have left hundreds injured and sparked calls for a probe into allegations of police brutality.

This week’s unrest was fuelled by a proposed bill that includes dozens of legal changes – from criminalising pre-marital sex and restricting sales of contraceptives, to making it illegal to insult the president and toughening the Muslim-majority country’s blasphemy law.