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Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
24 C
Brunei
Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Indonesia parliament approves ban on extra-marital sex

    JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia’s Parliament yesterday approved legislation that would outlaw sex outside marriage in a move critics said was a huge setback to rights in the country.

    After the new criminal code was endorsed by all nine parties in a sweeping overhaul of the legal code, Deputy House Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad banged the gavel to signal the text was approved and shouted “legal”.

    A revision of Indonesia’s criminal code, which stretches back to the Dutch colonial era, has been debated for decades.

    Rights groups had protested against the amendments, denouncing a crackdown on civil liberties and political freedoms, as well as a shift towards fundamentalism where secularism is enshrined in the constitution.

    “We have tried our best to accommodate the important issues and different opinions which were debated,” Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly told Parliament.

    The central business district skyline in Jakarta. PHOTO: AP

    “However, it is time for us to make a historical decision on the penal code amendment and to leave the colonial criminal code we inherited behind.”

    A provision in the text, which still needs to be signed by the president, states the new criminal code will be applicable in three years.

    Some of the most controversial articles in the newly passed code criminalise extra-marital sex, as well as the cohabitation of unmarried couples.

    According to the text seen by AFP, illegal cohabitation will have a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment, and sex outside of marriage will be punished with one year in prison.

    The spokesperson of the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s criminal code bill dissemination team, Albert Aries, defended the amendments before the vote and said the law would protect marriage institutions.

    He said acts of extra-marital sex could only be reported by a spouse, parents or children, limiting the scope of the amendment.

    The article on extra-marital sex has been criticised by Indonesian business organisations as detrimental to tourism, though authorities insisted foreigners travelling to Bali would not be affected.

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