Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation condemns degrading police treatment of 141 arrested in ‘gay party’ bust

Following last night’s arrest of 141 men during a police raid of a “gay party” at Atlantis Gym and Sauna in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) has accused the police of subjecting those they arrested to degrading and dehumanizing treatment.

“The victims were raided, captured, and taken to the North Jakarta Police precinct after being stripped and put into city buses,” said LBH Jakarta public lawyer Pratiwi Febry, as quoted by Tempo.

Febry added that the police further humiliated those arrested by taking their photos while they were topless and with their faces visible. The photos have subsequently gone viral online.

“The act constitutes an abuse of authority and is inhumane to the victims,” she said.

LBH Jakarta called on the police to not spread any more personal data or photos about those arrested as it would constitute both a threat to their security and a violation of their privacy rights.

Homosexual acts are not illegal in Indonesia (except under the version of sharia law enforced in Aceh). However, the police today named 10 of the men arrested as criminal suspects for violating Indonesia’s anti-pornography law. The suspects were identified as the spa’s owner, two cashiers, a security guard, four strippers and two guests who themselves stripped at the event.

Many men arrested during raids on previous LGBT events have faced similarly degrading treatment by law enforcers in Indonesia. Earlier this month, police in the city of Surabaya arrested 14 people for allegedly holding a ‘gay party’ in a hotel. Eight were detained and made to take HIV tests, which showed that five of them tested positive. That information was released to the public through the media, despite mandatory HIV tests being deemed a threat to privacy by the World Health Organization.

Last week, two Indonesian men in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia to enforce Islamic Sharia laws, were sentenced to 85 strokes of the cane after being found in bed together during a raid by vigilantes. The two men would be the first to be flogged in the region for allegedly having same-sex relations. Activists have called on President Joko Widodo to make good on statements in support of basic rights for LGBT Indonesians by preventing the caning from taking place.

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