Dozens of attendees at a party in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, have been arrested by local authorities after a raid on a hotel room where an allegedly gay party was being held.
Of the 47 men arrested only nine were later charged with offences relating to strict anti-pornography laws.
The laws, which were passed into legislation by the Indonesian government in October 2008, have been widely condemned by human rights experts and carry a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and a fine.
Jakarta police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said that “The nine people suspected of organising Saturday’s party were arrested… And it was believed all participants were from the same community in Jakarta.
With over 267 million citizens, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation – though perhaps the most moderate. Homosexuality only remains illegal in the remote province of Aceh in northwest Sumatra, of which has a population smaller than Melbourne’s at 4.7 million.
Still the increasing threat from Islamic extremists within government remains a concern, with members of the House of Representatives in February proposing a bill that would define homosexuality as deviant and require lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to report to authorities for rehabilitation.
The Hisbah Command set up in 2003 by the state government as a ‘religious police force’ made responsible for the enforcement of Sharia Law is separate to the state police. Hisbah officers whom observe violations of Sharia Law are then expected to alert the Nigeria Police Force.
“One 32-year-old man Adamu, who resides at Unguwa Uku quarters in Kano State, invited his 20-year-old friend, Tijjani from Garkuwar Sarki quarters in Sokoto State” said State Hisbah Commandant, Malam Ibrahim Dahiru. “They made plans to meet through Facebook, after which Tijjani came down based on an agreement that he will be paid N50,000 after the act. They lodged at a hotel and passed the night together. However, an argument ensued when Adamu could not provide the N50,000 promised to his guest.”
Following both suspects confessing to the crime the case has now been transferred to the police for further investigation and prosecution.