JAKARTA, Indonesia — The police in Indonesia have arrested men at a sauna in the capital on suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. After the arrests in Jakarta on Sunday night, the police released to local news organizations numerous photographs of shirtless men who had been detained, alarming rights activists who said friends and families of the men may not have been aware of their sexual orientation. Same-sex relations are not illegal in most of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation, though gay people are frequent targets of police raids and vigilante actions. Similar police raids and arrests have been reported around the country, including in Jakarta in November, when 13 men were taken into custody after the police were tipped off about what was said to be a gay sex party. Last week, two men in the northwestern province of Aceh were sentenced under Shariah law to 85 public lashes each for having sex with each other. Because of strong social and religious taboos against homosexuality in much of Indonesia, gatherings of gays often take place away from the public eye, like in saunas or at underground parties. Analysts said the arrests in Jakarta were part of enforcement efforts by the police before Ramadan, the monthlong holiday in which observant Muslims fast throughout the day. Tobias Basuki, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, said the police appeared to be formally taking on a role that had previously been held by hard-line Islamist groups. Basuki no relation to the former governor said that one way for the government to resist hard-line Islamist groups was to take over the role of enforcing Islamic behavioral norms from vigilantes.
Small victories mean nothing
The Straits Times
Police in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on May 21, , arrested men at a sauna. The raid took place against the backdrop of an ongoing LGBT rights crackdown in the country that has the support of conservative lawmakers. Photo public domain. The Jakarta Post on Monday also reported pictures of the men — who were naked — went viral after they were leaked.
BBC News Navigation
Officers arrested men when they raided a building in Jakarta that houses a sauna and a gym, and halted the event they said was called 'The Wild One'. Police show off some items they recovered from the party. Photo from Jakarta police. JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police have detained men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said Monday , May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country. Officers late Sunday raided a building in the capital Jakarta called Atlantis that houses a sauna and a gym, and halted the event they said was called "The Wild One".
A volunteer at the festival, Adi, 28, now fears that instead of safeguarding their rights authorities are targeting his community, forcing them to hide their lifestyles or even consider moving abroad. But what is sending a new chill through the gay community is that police seem to have taken on the vice patrol role themselves. His case highlighted the role of Islamic vigilante groups like the FPI, who helped organize the protests against him. The groups are known for raiding bars and brothels during the fasting month of Ramadan.