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Indonesia parliament ratifies criminal code that bans sex outside marriage


2022-12-06T04:49:14Z

Indonesia’s parliament on Tuesday approved a criminal code that bans sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, part of a raft of legal changes that critics say undermine civil liberties in the world’s third-largest democracy.

The controversial new laws, which apply to Indonesians and foreigners alike, also include a ban on insulting the president or state institutions and expressing views counter to state ideology.

Legislators hailed the passage of the criminal code that the Southeast Asian nation has been discussing revising since declaring independence from the Dutch.

“The old code belongs to Dutch heritage… and is no longer relevant now,” Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the code told lawmakers.

The approval comes even as business groups warned it could harm Indonesia’s image as a tourism and investment destination.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has seen a rise in religious conservatism in recent years with legal experts suggesting the new laws around morality, and a separate article on customary law will reinforce discriminatory and sharia-inspired bylaws at the local level.

Opponents of the bill have highlighted articles they say are socially regressive, will curb free speech and represent a “huge setback” in ensuring the retention of democratic freedoms after the fall of authoritarian leader Suharto in 1998.

Related Galleries:

Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission overseeing the revision, passes the report of the new criminal code to Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, during a parliamentary plenary meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Bambang Wuryanto, head of the parliamentary commission overseeing the revision of Indonesia’s criminal code, speaks during a parliamentary plenary meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

An activist shouts slogans during a protest, as Indonesia is set to pass a new criminal code that will ban sex outside marriage, cohabitation between unmarried couples, insulting the president, and expressing views counter to the national ideology, outside the Indonesian Parliament buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

People hold up signs during a protest as Indonesia is set to pass a new criminal code that will ban sex outside marriage, cohabitation between unmarried couples, insulting the president, and expressing views counter to the national ideology, outside the Indonesian Parliament buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

A worker walks on the roof of Indonesian Parliament Building in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

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