Indonesia’s human rights commission has condemned plans to launch raids on the LGBTQI community in Jakarta on Tuesday after a local man was convicted in the UK of assaulting 48 men.
Indonesian student, Reynhard Sinaga was convicted of 136 counts of rape against men whom he had drugged. The prosecutor described him as “the most prolific rapist in British legal history”. Sinaga was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years earlier in January in Manchester Crown Court.
A statement posted to Jakarta’s official website last week revealed plans to enlist “public order officers” to raid the residences of members of the LGBTQI community. The raid orders, given by mayor of Depok, Mohammad Idris, have been condemned as bigoted.
Idris noted that he wanted officers to prevent ‘the spread of LGBT’ which he described as ‘deviant behaviour’ in order to ‘strengthen families and protect the children’.
Idris also described the LGBTQI community as ‘victims’ and announced setting up rehab centres to help them become straight.
While homosexuality is not technically illegal there is little protection for LGBTQI people under Indonesian law. With the world’s largest Muslim-majority population, Indonesia’s formal and informal rules are heavily influenced by Sharia Law.
“The raids increase the risk of persecution and other law-defying acts,” Beka Ulung Hapsara, the head of the National Commission on Human Rights, told Reuters.
Sinaga, 36, was convicted of offences against 48 men; however, police have uncovered evidence that shows Sinaga had raped at least 195 men over a two-and-a-half-year period.
He targeted men aged between 17 and 33 years old, many of whom were drunk or lost and unable to get home after a night out.
The men were drugged and sexually assaulted. Most woke up in Sinaga’s bed, unaware they had been raped and believing they had been taken home by a “Good Samaritan.”
The men only found out they were raped when police showed up at their door.
“I will never forget the day the police came to see me,” one of the victims explained.
“I did not know why they needed to see me, but I can say I was absolutely devastated to hear that I had been a victim of rape after being drugged, and this sexual act was filmed by a man I now know to be Sinaga.”
Sinaga’s case received widespread coverage across Indonesia, leaving many in the underground LGBTQI community feeling further threatened.
A 22-year-old Indonesian student living in Depok who identifies as bisexual said that the proposed raids “violate private spaces” and are a waste of money. The student declined to be identified.
An Indonesian LGBTQI activist, Dede Oetomo said that the community expected “hysteria” once the Sinaga case was widely broadcast.