Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party

LGBT groups say the gay community in Jakarta has been subject to an unprecedented wave of discrimination and attacks

Two men on trial for being in a same-sex relationship are escorted to the courtroom at the Sharia court in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Police in Jakarta have now arrested 141 men for a party at an alleged gay sauna.
Two men on trial for being in a same-sex relationship are escorted to the courtroom at the Sharia court in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Police in Jakarta have now arrested 141 men for a party at an alleged gay sauna. Photograph: Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA

Indonesian police have arrested more than 100 men in a weekend raid on a gay sauna in the capital Jakarta, a day before two men are to be publicly flogged for having same sex relations.

Authorities raided what they said was a sex party promoted as ‘The Wild One,’ held at a sauna and gym venue in Jakarta’s north on Sunday evening.

Police spokesperson Agus Yuwono confirmed that 141 men, including the owner and several performers, had been detained for questioning and could be charged under Indonesia’s pornography law.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but over the past 18 months the LGBT community has been subject to an unprecedented wave of discrimination and attacks, sparked by several controversial comments from conservative government ministers.

Last month police targeted a gathering of gay men in a hotel in Surabaya, following a tip-off from neighbours. Fourteen men were arrested and forced to undergo HIV tests.

Two men were also arrested in Banda Aceh in late March and convicted of sodomy under the province’s sharia law. The men were sentenced to 85 lashes with the cane, which will be meted out publicly in the provincial capital on Tuesday.

This will be the first time Aceh’s sharia courts have sentenced people to flogging for homosexual acts.

Yulita Rustinawati from the LGBT activist group Arus Pelangi said that while all the details of Sunday’s raid were not year clear, the arrests were likely part of a growing trend of intolerance toward the queer community in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

“It’s been increasing for two years now,” Rustinawati said of the recent crackdowns, “It’s bad for democracy, for freedom of expression and freedom of association. We’re not sure what the government is trying to achieve. We are queer and we are not going away.”

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This entry was posted in Indonesia, LGBT and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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