Yes, you read that right. Indonesia just passed a new law, criminalizing extramarital sex with the risk of jail time.
The new criminal code includes a tranche of changes that critics say threaten human rights and freedoms in the Southeast Asian country. The code also applies to foreigners and tourists as critics describe it as a potential blow to tourism and investment. For those with plans of visiting the beautiful Bali, they have to remember, the new laws would also apply to them. So if you’re caught having sex during your holiday without being married to your partner, you could end up in an Indonesian jail.
The law bans cohabitation before marriage, apostasy, and also includes punishments for insulting the president or expressing views that counter the national ideology.
Any sexual activity outside of marriage is punishable by up to a year in jail under the new law, which will go into effect in three years. Partners living together outside of marriage could be jailed for up to six months as well. However, they’ll have to be reported to the authorities by their parents for the authorities to take over.
“All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law,” said lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto, who led the parliamentary commission in charge of revising the colonial-era code. “The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.”
Protests against the new law have already begun outside parliament in Jakarta this week. It’s also expected that the new criminal code will be challenged in court.
Several rights groups and critics warned that the new code would “disproportionately impact women” and further curtail human rights and freedoms in the country of more than 270 million people.
“What we’re witnessing is a huge setback to Indonesia’s hard-won progress in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms after the 1998 revolution. This criminal code should have never been passed in the first place,” said Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia.