Gay Men In Indonesia Arrested For Having Porn, Forced To Take HIV Tests

Police released results of the HIV tests to the media.

A recent raid targeting gay men in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, continues to threaten the rights of the country’s LGBT community.

Tipped off by neighbors, police raided two hotel rooms where 14 men had gathered, Human Rights Watch reports. The men were detained while police confiscated condoms, cell phones, and a flash drive that allegedly contained pornographic videos.

Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities ordered the men to undergo HIV tests and reported the results to local media—including that five had tested positive. Eight were arrested for violating the country’s strict anti-pornography law, while two were charged with organizing the event and providing pornography, offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Indonesia’s Law on Pornography defines “deviant sexual acts” to include sex with corpses, sex with animals, oral sex, anal sex, and same-sex relations.

“Indonesian police are again violating the basic rights of LGBT people by invading their privacy,” says Phelim Kine, HRW’s deputy Asia director. “The Surabaya raid subjected these gay men to traumatic humiliation, puts two at risk of long prison terms, and threatens the privacy rights of all Indonesians.”

Although President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s has voiced support for LGBT rights in Indonesia, the country has seen an increase of anti-LGBT statements from militant Islamic government and religious officials calling for the criminalization of homosexuality, as well as escalating anti-LGBT harassment and violence.

Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images

While homosexuality is technically still legal in most of Indonesia, LGBT residents face social censure throughout the country, and the northern province of Aceh adopted a Sharia law measure in 2015 that punishes same-sex relations with 100 lashes.

As part of the country’s continued crackdown on homosexuality, government officials have called to ban LGBT emojis and LGBT apps such as Grindr. Male actors have also been banned from behaving and dressing as women on television.
 

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