141 men arrested over gay party in Jakarta

Indonesian police officers yesterday showing costumes and other evidence gathered in Sunday's raid of an alleged gay party.
Indonesian police officers yesterday showing costumes and other evidence gathered in Sunday's raid of an alleged gay party.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA • Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said yesterday, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country.

Officers had on Sunday night raided a building in the capital Jakarta, called Atlantis, that houses a sauna and a gym, and halted an event they said was called "The Wild One".

"Our officers did an undercover investigation and raided the place on Sunday," said senior detective Nasriadi, who goes by one name.

Homosexuality and gay sex are legal everywhere in Indonesia except in conservative Aceh province, but Mr Nasriadi said that 10 of those arrested in the Jakarta raid could be charged under Indonesia's tough anti-pornography laws.

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The 10 men include the alleged organisers of the event as well as those suspected of being prostitutes and striptease dancers. Those found guilty of breaking the laws face up to 10 years in jail.

The others detained are still being questioned by police as potential witnesses in the case, the detective said.

The raid is the latest sign of growing hostility towards Indonesia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Since last year, ministers, hardliners and influential Islamic groups have been coming forward to publicly denounce homosexuality.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline '141 men arrested over gay party in Jakarta'. Print Edition | Subscribe