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Indonesia to imprison people who have sex before or outside marriage

By Brooke Villanueva Published Dec 04, 2022 2:02 pm

Indonesia is set to punish those who have sex before marriage with jail time of up to one year.

Deputy justice minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej told Reuters that the new criminal code, which will be applicable to the citizens and foreigners in the country, is expected to move forward on Dec. 15.

“We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,” he said. 

Politician Bambang Wuryanto, meanwhile, said that it could be passed by next week. 

“Punishment for adultery can only take effect if there are parties who lodge complaints to the authorities,” according to a report by BBC News

“For those who are married, the party entitled to lodge a complaint is the perpetrator’s husband or wife,” the media outlet added. 

Parents of unmarried individuals would be allowed to report them for having sex under the new measure, which would also ban cohabitation. If convicted for the latter, they could face imprisonment of up to six months. 

Reuters said that business groups have expressed their concern over the negative impact it could bring on the country's image.

"For the business sector, the implementation of this customary law shall create legal uncertainty and make investors reconsider investing in Indonesia," Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani—the deputy chairperson of Indonesia's Employers' Association—said.

BBC reported that the code was initially slated to be passed three years ago. Tens of thousands of Indonesians, however, came together in various cities to rally against the move at the time, which reportedly caused some delays and minor changes to the law.