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Remove proposed articles on adultery from revised criminal code

Graphic: Komnas Ham headquarters, Jakarta

Indonesia's national human rights body has urged an older version of the draft be adopted to avoid potential abuse and public persecution.

Amid rising concern over the inclusion of articles on adultery in a revised version of the criminal code, Indonesia's national human rights body has suggested that an older version of the draft be adopted to avoid potential abuse of authority and public persecution.

"As it is, the article shows potential for misuse and it is better to revert to the old version," Ahmad Taufan Damanik, Chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said at a press conference in Jakarta .

The current criminal code already criminalises adultery, but only in situations of sex between a married person and a person who is not their spouse, the Jakarta Globe reported.

However, Article 484 of the draft extends the criminalisation of adultery to all forms of extramarital sex by stating that a man and a woman not bound by a "legitimate marriage" could face up to five years in prison if they have sexual intercourse.

This also falls under a complaint offence, and can be reported by spouses or "any concerned third party". The article does not contain a clear definition of the third party.

"[In the current draft], the article has been expanded to include other parties so it can be anyone reporting on what others are doing, which prompts concerns that these articles can be misused," Taufan said.

Concerned citizens started an online petition demanding that the House of Representatives reconsider problematic morality articles in the draft. The petition highlighted that such provisions would "increase persecution and vigilante culture" in society.

More than 40,000 people signed the petition within days of it being posted.

Komnas HAM said the proposed article on adultery could potentially harm rape survivors, who may already be reluctant to make a report to the police, as they may fear being accused of having committed a crime.

Date: 3 February 2018

Source: Jakarta Globe

Image credits

  1. Komnas Ham headquarters, Jakarta - Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights