Indonesian President Joko Widodo (File photo)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (File photo)

Indonesia's president postpones vote to criminalise sex outside marriage

ANI | Updated: Sep 24, 2019 15:27 IST

Jakarta [Indonesia], Sept 24 (ANI): Following the outcry from human rights groups worldwide, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has postponed a vote that could have criminalized consensual extramarital sex and effectively outlawed same-sex relations in the country.
Last week, the Indonesian government had agreed to pass a new code which will also introduce penalties for insulting the President. With lawmakers describing the vote as a 'formality', the code was set to pass into law on Tuesday.
However, earlier this Friday, Widodo said in a televised address that he has decided to postpone the vote after "seriously considering feedback from different parties who feel objections on some substantial content of the criminal code," CNN reported.
Adding that there are some contents that need an in-depth study, the President said, "I ordered (the) Law and Human Rights Minister to deliver my standpoint to Parliament. I also ordered Law and Human Rights Minister to gather feedback from the public again as an input for better criminal code."
News on the new penal code drew international criticism, with Human Rights Watch terming the draft code "disastrous not only for women, religious and gender minorities but for all Indonesians".
Rights groups said the law would discriminate against members of the LGBT community, while articles such as the criminalisation of insulting the president may limit freedom of speech.
Under the draft code, unmarried couples who are reported to police for living together could be sentenced to six months in prison and could be punished with a penalty of up to six months in prison.
Moreover, anyone who helped a woman terminate her pregnancy could also face five years in jail. (ANI)