Indonesia: Anti-gay campaign sweeps Jakarta

Issue 

The below article is reprinted from the website of Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP), http://asia-pacific-action.org. Messages of solidarity should be sent to arus_pelangi@yahoo.co.id. For more information, visit http://www.aruspelangi.or.id.

According to Rido Triawan, the chairperson of Arus Pelangi ("Rainbow Current"), an Indonesian LGBTI rights organisation, a new anti-gay and lesbian campaign is sweeping Jakarta in the wake of hysterical media coverage about a so-called "Gay mutilation murder case".

Verry Idam Henyansyah, better known as "Ryan" confessed to the murder and mutilation of a gay man, Heri Santoso, in Jakarta a few weeks ago. He has subsequently confessed to 10 other murders.

"Some stupid psychologists have since stated to the media that LGBTI people were more evil and immoral than heterosexual people", Triawan told ASAP. "So it has became a national issue and the police department and some radical Islamic groups have been sweeping some gay areas in Jakarta. The police have already detained some gay persons in Central Jakarta."

Erlangga Masdiana, a criminologist from the University of Indonesia, was quoted in the July 21-27 issue of Tempo magazine arguing "that homosexuals commit sadistic killings should not surprise anybody if you know their world".

"People with deviant sexual behavior are used to be close to criminal world. They are used to make threats and to use force if someone who is invited to intimacy refuses the offer. With such habits they can commit more serious crimes, of course."

Dadang Hawari, a well-known psychologist, was quoted in Berita Kota on July 20: "...homosexuals have stronger feelings of jealousy and they can act quite violently when their wishes are not granted. Gays/homosexuals have a deviant sexual behavior and their aggressiveness is therefore beyond normal."

"There are a lot of heterosexual persons who also become murderers", the Arus Pelangi general secretary, Yuli Rustinawati, was forced to explain in the July 17 Detik. "It's not true the gay and lesbian persons are more possesive than heterosexual persons. Anyone could become a murderer. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation."

A gay man named Darso told Nonstop Daily on July 25 that "my friend was arrested in Senen area [Jakarta] during a police razzia [raid]. The reason was not clear. I am now afraid to be kicked out from my apartment. Since the Ryan affair started all gays have become afraid."

Local police in Senen area have started checking the apartments where many gays live. This action was directly led by police chief A.K.P. Kasmono.

It added that the Metropolitan Police Chief Irjen Adang Firman stated he would "not discount that it will conduct raids against [hangout places of] homosexuals".

The Islamic para-military group Hisbullah, Fery Alfiansyah Noor, joined in the homophobic chorus: "Homosexuality is like an infectious disease. That is why the local government should be tough with the usual gay hangout places. If they are left free, they will ultimately infect the larger population."

The chairperson of the Association of Ulamas of Jakarta, Ashraf Ali, declared: "Gays and lesbians will 100% sure go to hell, because same-sex relationships are forbidden by the Koran."

"We in Arus Pelangi are now preparing for possible attacks from fundamentalist Islamic groups — including evacuation", warns Triawan. "We are preparing an urgent appeal for solidarity from international friends, urging them to write letters of concern to the Indonesian embassies and consulates in their countries.

"Since Indonesia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2005, many human rights violations continue to take place, including arrests of gays simply because of their sexual orientation.

"It is not right and the state has no right to arrest LGBTI people for their sexual orientation. It also has no right to legalise violence done by some fundamentalist Islamic groups against LGBTI people."