Sex outside marriage is now forbidden in Indonesia as the parliament approved a new law.
According to the new law, anyone caught in premarital sex is at risk of going to jail. Naija News understands that the law applies not only to the country’s citizens but also to foreigners.
Reports said the new law is expected to take effect in three years. Anyone who engages in sex outside marriage (unmarried) is bound to spend at least a year in jail.
The new law also restricts political freedoms, a development that comes after a rise in religious conservatism in the Muslim-majority country.
Citizens have lamented the development, describing the law as a disaster for human rights and a potential blow to tourism and investment.
Several groups of mainly young people protested against the legislation outside parliament in Jakarta this week. The new laws, it is expected, will be challenged in court.
Foreigners living in Indonesia or visiting holiday destinations such as Bali will be dealt with accordingly if found guilty of violating the new law.
People in relationships are also banned from living together, an act for which people could be jailed for up to six months. Adultery will also be an offence for which people can be jailed.
Reacting to the incident, Ajeng, a 28-year-old Muslim woman living in the West Java city of Depok, told BBC that she was now at risk for living with her partner for the past five years.
She said: “With the new law, both of us can go to jail if one of the family decides to make a police report.
“What if there’s one family member who has a problem with me and decides to send me to jail? I think living together or having sex outside of marriage is not a crime. In my religion, it’s considered a sin. But I don’t think the criminal code should be based on a certain religion.”
Ajeng said she joined the nationwide protests in 2019 when the law was first broached. She took the sign: “For the right to cuddle, I took to the streets.”