Indonesia to penalise sex outside marriage as part of criminal code revision

Indonesian officials have confirmed that a new criminal code that would penalise having sex outside of marriage with up to a year in jail is scheduled to be passed by Indonesia’s parliament this month. In addition, criticising the president or state institutions, as well as expressing any opinions at odds with Indonesia’s official ideology, will be prohibited by the legislative revision. Additionally forbidden is cohabitation prior to marriage. The new criminal code, which has been in the works for decades, is anticipated to be approved on 15 December, according to Indonesia’s deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej. 

We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he told Reuters in an interview.

In a nation where conservatism is on the upswing, some Islamic organisations favour the draft, but its detractors claim that it rolls back liberal freedoms that were implemented after authoritarian leader Suharto was overthrown in 1998.

2019 was the planned passing date for an earlier draught of the code, but it was met with widespread opposition. At the time, tens of thousands of people protested a variety of regulations they believed would restrict civil freedoms, notably those that were viewed as regulating morals and free expression.

The administration has recently hosted public consultations around the nation to offer information about the modifications, but critics claim that little has changed with regard to the code since that time.

According to the most recent draft, dated Nov. 24, which was seen by Reuters, sex outside of marriage carries a potential one-year prison penalty and can only be reported by specific parties such close relatives.

The maximum sentence for insulting the president, a charge that may only be brought by the president, is three years.

The country with the largest proportion of Muslims in the world, Indonesia, has several local laws that discriminate against LGBT people, women, and religious minorities.

(With inputs from agencies)