A former Indonesian cop has vowed to fight for justice after he was dismissed from the police force for being gay, but he’s already hit a legal roadblock after a court threw out his lawsuit.
The plaintiff, identified by his initials TT (30), said he was dishonorably discharged by the Central Java Police in 2017. TT challenged the dismissal in the province’s Administrative Court (PTUN) in the city of Semarang today, but to no avail.
“The court rejects the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The court punished the plaintiff payment of court fees totaling IDR348,000 (US$24),” Head Judge Panca Yunior Utomo said during the hearing today, as quoted by Detik.
Panca explained that the court was not able to adjudicate the case because the plaintiff did not invoke Law No. 30/2014 on government administration as a defense immediately following his dismissal from the force, which is a prerequisite for an employment termination lawsuit to be filed at PTUN.
TT’s attorney, Ma’ruf Majammal, vowed to fight on for his client.
“We will discuss the possibility of appealing the judge’s decision. This will not stop,” he said, adding that TT has fulfilled PTUN’s prerequisites to be able to file a lawsuit.
According to Ma’ruf in an interview with Suara last week, his client was arrested on February 14, 2016 under suspicion of extortion, albeit without a warrant.
“But during the interrogation, [TT] was instead questioned about his sexual orientation, which they said was deviant. There is actually no such thing as a deviant sexual orientation. [TT] only has a sexual orientation that puts him in the minority,” Ma’ruf said.
On October 2017, an ethics committee at the Central Java Police decided that TT would be dishonorably discharged, and the decision was made final in December 2018, putting an end to his 10 years of service with the police force.
High ranking officials in the Central Java Police and the National Police defended the decision to fire TT, citing police officers’ legal obligation to abide by the police force’s code of ethics, which include observing religious norms and moral standards.
Human Rights Watch last year released a report highlighting a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in Indonesia. The recent increase in anti-LGBT hysteria, the worst the country has seen since the height of the last LGBT moral panic 2016, has been attributed by some to election year politics and cynical leaders looking to score easy electoral points with increasingly conservative voters by scapegoating the vulnerable minority group.