Indonesian man convicted of raping 9 children becomes first to be sentenced with chemical castration

Illustration only. Photo: David Martinez
Illustration only. Photo: David Martinez

An Indonesian man named Muh Aris bin Syukur from the city of Mojokerto in East Java was sentenced with chemical castration for the rape of nine children in a landmark ruling for the country.

In 2016, President Joko Widodo signed a Perppu (Presidential Regulation In Lieu of Law) introducing the death penalty and chemical castration for convicted child molesters, which was ratified into law that same year by the House of Parliament (DPR). Three years on, Aris has become the first convicted child molester to be given the sentence in court.

Aris was found guilty of raping nine girls from 2015-2018 in Mojokerto. He was arrested in October 2018 after he was caught by a CCTV camera molesting his latest victim.

As reported by CNN Indonesia, documents from Aris’ court case showed that, on July 18, the Mojokerto High Court upheld a 12-year prison sentence and IDR100 million (US$7,012) fine given to Aris by the Mojokerto District Court in May.

While that sentence is more lenient than the 17 years demanded by prosecutors, the District Court judges handed Aris an additional punishment for his crimes.

“We hereby give the additional sentence in the form of chemical castration to the convicted,” the court ruling reads

The case prosecutors did not demand that Aris be chemically castrated in their indictment.

Given that the punishment has no precedent in Indonesia, the Mojokerto Prosecutors Office say they have no means yet to chemically castrate Aris so no date for the execution of the sentence has yet been announced.

Chemical castration as a punishment was ratified into law in Indonesia after the shockingly brutal gang rape and murder of a teenage girl in Bengkulu in 2016. Activists say that the threat of severe punishment has not been as successful a deterrent as the government hoped, as sexual assault against children continue to be a serious problem in Indonesia. 

A lack of means has been one of the main barriers preventing the punishment from being rendered to convicted child molesters thus far. Soon after the punishment was introduced, the government controversially sought the help of The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) to chemically castrate convicted child molesters, but the country’s medical professionals refused on the grounds that the procedure violates medical ethics.

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