Indonesia’s parliament has passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code that criminalises extramarital sex and applies to citizens and visiting foreigners alike.
A parliamentary task force finalised the bill in November and politicians approved it on Tuesday.
A copy of the amended criminal code obtained by The Associated Press includes several revised articles that make sex outside marriage punishable by a year in jail and cohabitation by six months, but adultery charges must be based on police reports lodged by their spouse, parents or children.
It also says the promotion of contraception and religious blasphemy are illegal, and it restores a ban on insulting a sitting president and vice president, state institutions and national ideology.
The code maintains that abortion is a crime, but it adds exceptions for women with life-threatening medical conditions and for rape survivors, provided that the foetus is less than 12 weeks old, in line with what is already regulated in the 2004 Medical Practice Law.
Rights groups criticised some proposed revisions as overly broad or vague and warned that rushing them into the new criminal code could penalise normal activities and threaten freedom of expression and privacy rights.
However, some advocates hailed it as a victory for the country’s LGBTQ minority.
Politicians during a fierce deliberation session eventually agreed to repeal an article proposed by Islamic groups that would have made gay sex illegal.
The code would also preserve the death penalty within the criminal justice system despite calls from the National Commission on Human Rights and other groups to abolish capital punishment, as dozens of other countries have done.
A previous bill was poised for passage in 2019 but president Joko Widodo urged politicians to delay a vote on the bill amid mounting public criticism that led to nationwide protests when tens of thousands of people took to the streets.