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Arrests of 141 Indonesian gay men in Jakarta

Lawyers are claiming that they have been refused access to the arrested men and that could mean the police will try and force confessions from them.
Photo credit:
Tatan Syuflana

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Although homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, police still arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital city on Sunday.

What’s more, after the arrests, the police in Jakarta released numerous photos of the men, and that alarmed activists who say the individuals may not have been out to friends and family.

The predominantly Muslim nation does not outlaw homosexuality in most areas, but law enforcement are using the county’s pornography laws and sodomy laws to warrant their raids.

This latest round up comes at the end of a trial where two men were found guilty of having sex with each other and sentenced to 85 lashes which will be carried out publicly reports The New York Times.

Gay men who are afraid of the police often meet en masse in place like saunas and other establishments away from public view.

“It’s very difficult for us to express our sexuality like heterosexuals,” said Hartoyo, the director of Suara Kita, a gay rights advocacy group, who goes by one name. He adds, that making public the images of those arrested is “extremely dangerous.”  

Lawyers are claiming that they have been refused access to the arrested men and that could mean the police will try and force confessions from them.

Ricky Gunawan from the Community Legal Aid Institute told The Telegraph, “It’s been quite difficult to get access in terms of information as well as to get their permission to sign power of attorney…to ensure that their rights are respected in this legal process.”

Police say that 10 men will be charged, including the sauna owner and several strippers. They could face a decade behind bars.