Indonesia’s new criminal code isn’t just about sex outside marriage. It endangers press and religious freedom

Indonesia’s controversial new criminal code was passed into law on Tuesday, replacing a clunky old code dating back to at least 1918. Lawmakers have tried for decades to replace it. In fact, the last time legislators tried in 2019, it triggered the largest public protests in Indonesia since the 1998 fall of former president Soeharto.

This time, politicians rushed it through at short notice, despite widespread criticism and limited opportunities for public consultation. In the end, the code passed with the support of all but two small parties.

Many of its provisions are dangerously vague and wide in their scope – “rubber provisions”, as Indonesians say – that empower the state at the expense of citizens.

The provisions that have attracted the most criticism are those that impose conservative moral values about sexuality, and those that restrict rights to freedom of expression.

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Indonesia passes new criminal code, outlaws sex outside marriage | Crime News

Controversial changes fuelled protests when they were first proposed in 2019 and could still be challenged in court.

Indonesia has passed a controversial new Criminal Code that includes outlawing sex outside marriage and cohabitation, in changes that critics contend could undermine freedoms in the Southeast Asian nation.

The new laws apply to Indonesians and foreigners and also restore a ban on insulting the president, state institutions or Indonesia’s national ideology known as Pancasila.

The new criminal code, which was approved unanimously by parliament on Tuesday, replaces a framework that had been in use since independence in 1946 and was a mix of Dutch law, customary law known as hukum adat, and modern Indonesian law.

“We have tried our best to accommodate the important issues and different opinions which were debated. However, it is time for us to make a historical decision on the penal code amendment and to leave the

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