The Tangerang Regency Police have arrested four people suspected of committing a shocking act of moral vigilantism in Kadu Village on Saturday after a viral video emerged showing several men forcing a couple to strip naked before parading them on the street and beating them as punishment for allegedly engaging in immoral acts.
The four suspects were all identified as males with the initials N, G, T, and A, and the police believe they were directly responsible for humiliating and beating the couple publicly.
While the public shaming and parading of adulterers is sadly not uncommon in Indonesia, this case is drawing outrage from the public after the police revealed that the couple — who are actually engaged — were not involved in any of the “immoral acts” they were accused of when they were assaulted inside the female victim’s home.
According to Tangerang Regency Police Chief Sabilul Alif, the male victim was only bringing food over to his fiancé’s house before it was raided and the two were forced to admit that they were getting intimate out of wedlock.
“He was bringing food, then he went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and then he was pulled out and forced to admit (indecency) or he’d be stripped naked. But what’s clear is that he was initially dressed,” Sabilul said, as quoted by Detik yesterday.
As shown in the now viral video, the visibly distressed couple were then forced outside into the street by the vigilantes, who berated them for being indecent. While the woman had a t-shirt on at the beginning of the video, the men soon also forcefully stripped her completely naked despite her ear-piercing screams for mercy. The couple were also beaten on several occasions while they were paraded — which lasted for about an hour.
Sabilul added that the vigilantes also deliberately took photos and recorded the public humiliation and posted them online.
“Some were saying, ‘let’s take selfies. Upload them,’” he said.
The Tangerang Regency Police say a cyber crimes task force was formed to catch the original uploaders of footage of the incident and charge them with violations of the Informations and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE). As for the four suspects, the police say they could be charged with assault under Article 170 of the KUHP (Criminal Code), which is punishable by five-and-a-half years in prison or up to nine years if the victim sustains heavy injuries.
The police did not reveal the extent of the couple’s physical injuries, but they were both assigned psychiatric help to cope with the mental trauma from the abuse.
Parades of shame for adulterers or anyone found getting intimate outside of wedlock are sadly common in parts of Indonesia, especially in rural areas, and the abusers often escape any criminal charges. In August, a couple who had allegedly committed adulter were paraded through the streets of a village in East Java, only for the police to charge the man for adultery but not the neighborhood busybodies who abused the couple.
A similar raid on consenting adulterers also occurred in Tangerang in January. The people who forcefully paraded the couple were also not charged with any crime.