SURABAYA police have detained eight men who are expected to be charged under Indonesia’s strict anti-pornography laws and named six others as witnesses when they burst in on a “gay party.”
City police chief Shinto Silitonga said officers raided two rooms in the Surabaya Oval Hotel on Sunday, finding 14 men watching gay pornography and undertaking “deviant sexual acts.” He said they conducted the raid after being tipped off by local residents.
“This is the first time we enforce the law and arrest gay people in the city,” he told AFP.
Homosexuality is not expressly illegal in Indonesia, except in the conservative Islamic province of Aceh, which implements punitive elements of Syariah law.
Nevertheless, possession of pornographic film is a crime under Indonesian law. Two of the men face 15 years in jail for initiating and facilitating the event.
Last year saw a significant upshot in anti-LGBT sentiment in Muslim-majority nation, with a number of public figures issuing public pronouncements against homosexuality.
In February, Indonesia’s Education Minister Muhammad Nasir called for a ban on gay students in universities. Tangerang mayor claimed Indonesian children might become gay by consuming milk formula and instant noodles.
A spokesman for President Joko Widodo then declared in August 2016, “there is no room in Indonesia for the proliferation of the LGBT movement.”
Indonesia’s Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu also went as far as claiming the LGBT movement was “a kind of modern warfare” by proxy, more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
According to Pew Research, Indonesia is one of the least tolerant countries regarding homosexuality, with 93 percent of Indonesians saying homosexuality should be rejected, according to a 2013 poll.