Indonesian lawmakers have passed a new criminal code that prohibits sex outside marriage.
The new law applies to foreign residents and tourists, bans living together before marriage, apostasy, and offers punishments for insulting the president or expressing views against national ideology.
While talking about the development, lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto, who led the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the colonial-era code said: “All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law.
“The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”
Indonesia has a population of 270 million people and is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. The country has witnessed a rise in religious conservatism recently. Strict Islamic laws are already operating in parts of the country, including the semi-autonomous Aceh province, where gambling and alcohol are banned.
It is normal for public floggings to occur in Indonesia for offences which include homosexuality and adultery.
A previous draft of the code was about to be passed in 2019 but was deferred after nationwide protests made the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, intervene. Widodo said in a televised address that he decided to delay the vote after “seriously considering feedback from different parties who feel objections on some substantial content of the criminal code.”
Under the new law, sex outside marriage attracts a potential one-year jail term, and the crime of blasphemy, already on Indonesia’s books, now attracts a five-year jail term.
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