Millions of Indonesians will find themselves on the wrong side of the law soon when a new penal code that criminalises extramarital sex gets passed next week
Reuters reported that four Indonesian parliamentarians confirmed that the new penal code will come into effect next week, after all parties agree on the new draft.
A study found that 40% of Indonesian adolescents engaged in premarital sex, non-governmental organisation Institute for Criminal Justice Reform told Reuters.
By next week, these teens will be violators of the law - along with the rest of Indonesia's 250 million population which consists of Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist minorities too.
Violators are liable to one year's jail if they are found having sex outside of marriage
According to Human Rights Watch, the current law only prohibits married couples from engaging in extramarital sex.
The new code expands to include single people engaging in sex with another single individual.
Article 419 of the new code also states that couples who live together without being legally married could be sentenced up to six months in prison, or slapped with a fine of IDR10 million (about RM2,980).
A village chief, parents, spouses, or children can all file a complaint to the police for the violators to be prosecuted under the new law.
The new penal code also bans promotion of contraception and abortion, and the act of insulting the president, vice president, and the government
Article 414 rules that anyone who is "to show, to offer, to broadcast, to write or to promote a contraception to a minor" could face imprisonment or a fine.
However, some exceptions are given to health professionals and authorised "competent volunteers" to relay information about contraception for the purpose of family planning, preventing sexually transmitted infections, or providing health education.
Women who undergo unlawful abortion, too, could be put behind bars for four years under the new law.
Under Article 119, anyone associated with organisations that follow Marxist-Leninist ideology which has "the intent of changing the policy of the government" could face up to 10 years' jail, while Article 219 criminalises "insults" to the president or vice president.
Also, Article 421 of the new code criminalises "obscene acts" in public which is prosecutable to up to six months in prisons. Human Rights Watch claimed it could be used against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
Foreigners, too, are not exempted by the law and can face prosecution
However, when Reuters questioned lawmaker Teuku Taufiqulhadi if tourists will be persecuted for having extramarital sex in Indonesia, the parliamentarian said, "No problem, as long as people don't know."
The new law has seen sharp criticism from human rights groups for being "extremely regressive"
"Across the board, this is a ratcheting up of conservatism. It's extremely regressive," said University of Melbourne's Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam, and Society director Tim Lindsey, reported Reuters.
"Indonesia's draft criminal code is disastrous not only for women and religious and gender minorities, but for all Indonesians," said Andreas Harsono, senior Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, reported The Guardian.
"The bill's provisions censoring information about contraception could set back the progress Indonesia has made in recent years to dramatically reduce maternal deaths."