Indonesians can now be jailed for premarital relations- The new criminal code also applies to tourists, starting Dec. 15

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The Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) is set to be passed by the Indonesian parliament. The new criminal code will penalize fornication. The punishment for engaging in intercourse before marriage is up to one year in jail. Article 413, Paragraph 1 reads,

Anyone who has intercourse with someone who is not their husband or wife shall be punished for adultery with a maximum imprisonment of 1 year or a maximum fine of Category II. [i]

A Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia's state ideology aligns with the new code. The nation's deputy justice minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, stated,

We're proud to have a criminal code that's in line with Indonesian values. [ii]
A woman is behind bars.Photo byreewungjunerr/Adobe Stock

The code also bans cohabitation before marriage. Anyone convicted may face up to six months in jail. As a result, many groups have spoken openly, expressing concern about the new criminal code. The deputy chairperson of Indonesia's Employers' Association, Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani, suggested that the criminalization of premarital intercourse will likely have detrimental results for the business sector. [iii]

Since the code will apply to tourists, there are fears that Indonesia's recently reignited tourist scene may be impacted by the new law criminalizing fornication. Indonesia's Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, recently revealed that Indonesia has already seen $4.3 billion in "tourist revenue in the first nine months of the year." [iv]

Furthermore, a Human Rights Watch activist, Andreas Harsono, asserts that the new criminal code signifies a "dark era" for Indonesia. He emphasized that since Indonesia does not recognize same-sex marriage, all LGBT relationships will now be categorized as a crime. [v]

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[i] Surabhi Shaurya, Premarital [Relations] to Be Punishable in THIS Country Soon (Dec. 2, 2022)

[ii] Ritika Shah, Indonesia set to make premarital sex punishable under new criminal code (Dec. 2, 2022)

[iii] Outlook India, Why Indonesia's Announcement To Penalize Premairtal [Relations] Is Not Unprecedented (Dec. 2, 2022)

[iv] Darrelle Ng, Beyond sun, sand and Bali: Indonesia touts 5 new 'super priority' destinations as tourism trends shift (Nov. 29, 2022)

[v] Kathleen Farmilo, YIKES [Relations] Outside of marriage in Indonesia Could Soon See People Facing Up To a Year in Jail (Dec. 3, 2022)

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