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Indonesia police detain dozens in raid on Jakarta gay party

Jakarta Police spokesperson Yusri Yunus, left, talks to men arrested in a raid of a gay party, during a news conference at Jakarta police headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Sept 2, 2020. Indonesia Police detained dozens of men from the raid at a hotel in Indonesia’s capital. (Tatan Syuflana/Associated Press)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police detained dozens of men in a raid on a gay party at a hotel in Jakarta, an official said Wednesday.

Jakarta police spokesperson Yusri Yunus said nine people suspected of organizing Saturday’s party were arrested and 47 others who participated were released.

The nine are being charged under a pornography law which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine, he said.

Yunus said the participants were all from the same community in Jakarta. Police are still investigating to determine if any other people were involved, he said.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, except in conservative Aceh province. However, the country’s gay and lesbian community has recently come under siege.

Police have set up a special task force to investigate alleged homosexual activity. In February, members of the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would define homosexuality as deviant and require lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to report to authorities for rehabilitation.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has called on Indonesian authorities to release people detained on the basis of their sexual orientation and combat anti-gay stigma in the country.

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