Indonesia: Release Gay Men at Risk of Torture

On April 10, 2017 Human Rights Watch published:

Indonesian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release two men detained in Aceh province under a local ordinance that criminalizes homosexuality, Human Rights Watch said today.

On the night of March 28, 2017, unidentified vigilantes forcibly entered a home and brought two men found there to the police for allegedly having same-sex relations. The two men, in their twenties, have been detained at a Wilayatul Hisbah, a Sharia (Islamic law) police facility in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital.  The chief inspector indicated that the men had confessed to being gay and would be detained for sentencing. Under Aceh’s Islamic Criminal Code (Qanun Jinayah), they face up to 100 lashes in public—a punishment that constitutes torture under international law.

“The arrest and detention of these two men underscores the abuse imbedded in Aceh’s discriminatory, anti-LGBT ordinances,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia division director at Human Right Watch. “These men had their privacy invaded in a frightening and humiliating manner and now face public torture for the ‘crime’ of their alleged sexual orientation.

”Indonesian government officials made a series of anti-LGBT comments, resulting in proposals of laws which pose a serious threat to the rights and safety of LGBT Indonesians.Cell phone video footage of the raid, apparently shot by one of the vigilantes and circulating on social media, shows one of the two men visibly distressed as he calls for help on his cellphone. “Please brother, please stop,” one of the men says in the video. “My parents want to talk to you, they can pick me up.” Aceh’s Sharia ordinances empower members of the public as well as the special Sharia police to publicly identify and detain anyone suspected of violating its rules.

Aceh’s Sharia police have previously detained lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.  In October 2015, Sharia police arrested two women, ages 18 and 19, on suspicion of being lesbians for embracing in public and detained them for three nights at a Sharia police facility in Banda Aceh.  Sharia police repeatedly attempted to compel the two women to identify other suspected LGBT people in Aceh by showing them photographs of individuals taken from social media accounts.

Read more at: Indonesia: Release Gay Men at Risk of Torture | Human Rights Watch

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