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Indonesian Police Arrest Nine in Raid on 'Gay Party'

Indonesian police

The raid continues a series of anti-LGBTQ+ actions by Indonesian authorities.

Police in Jakarta, Indonesia, arrested nine men Saturday for organizing what authorities described as a "gay party."

Officers "detained dozens of men" who were at the party at a Jakarta hotel but released 47 while holding nine who are accused of organizing the event, the Associated Press reports.

The nine will be charged with violating an antipornography law, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus told the AP Wednesday. The maximum penalty is a 15-year prison sentence plus a fine.

Homosexuality is not criminalized in Muslim-majority Indonesia, except in one province, Aceh. But there have been many crackdowns on LGBTQ+ people throughout the nation in the past few years.

Members of Parliament have drafted a bill that would require LGBTQ+ people to go through treatment at government-approved rehab clinics. International schools in the nation have been trying to screen out queer teachers. In January, the mayor of Depok ordered police raids to rout out "LGBT behavior." In April, police declined to file murder charges against men who burned a transgender woman to death.

Amnesty International's Indonesia affiliate condemned the latest round of arrests. "There is no legal justification for criminalising the behaviour these men are accused of," Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said in a press release. "Such a gathering would pose no threat to anyone. The authorities are being discriminatory and violating the human rights to privacy and family life, freedom of expression, and the freedom of assembly and association.

"Raids like these send a terrifying message to LGBTI people. We call on the authorities to release all people arrested in the party and drop all charges against them. They must also stop these arbitrary and humiliating raids and stop misusing laws against loitering or public nuisance to harass and arrest people accused of same-sex activity. No one should be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The police should be keeping everyone safe, not stoking more discrimination."

The United Nations has also called on Indonesia to combat anti-LGBTQ+ stigma in the country and to release anyone detained on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the AP reports.

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