Indonesian court rejects petition against extramarital sex

Judges read their verdict on the case of a petition seeking to make gay sex and sex outside marriage illegal during a hearing at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Indonesian court rejects petition against extramarital sex

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s top justices narrowly voted against a petition that sought to criminalize homosexual sex and heterosexual outside marriage.
The Ulema Council described the decision as “another blow” to the country’s predominantly Muslim population. “We really regret the decision,” council spokesman Muhyiddin Junaidi told Arab News.
Five out of nine judges rejected in its entirety the petition filed by 12 people under the conservative Family Love Alliance (AILA).
The decision came after the court in November ruled in favor of religious freedom, ordering the state to list indigenous faiths and other religions, apart from the country’s six officially recognized ones, in citizens’ national identity cards.
AILA had demanded that the court amend three articles in the Criminal Code by expanding the definition of adultery to include non-marital sex.
The group’s main arguments for the amendments were “family resilience” and “protection of religious values in Indonesia,” as stated in the court document, which said the authority to amend laws lies with MPs, not the court.
A Jakarta-based rights group and one of the ruling’s proponents, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), welcomed the decision.
“If the petition had been granted, there would’ve been over-criminalization in the country, and the state would be interfering too much in citizens’ private domain,” the ICJR’s executive director, Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono, told Arab News.
Rita Soebagio, one of the petitioners, told Arab News that the court decision “shows that we face an uphill battle to instil religious norms in our society.” She said the Criminal Code contains Western values from the Dutch colonial era.


“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

Updated 24 September 2018
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“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

LONDON: Leaving the European Union without a proper divorce deal could ground airlines, stop hauliers from lugging goods to the world’s biggest trading bloc and even make headaches for pet owners who want to take their dogs on holiday, according to government documents.
With just six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that negotiations are at an impasse and that the EU must come up with new proposals on how to craft a divorce settlement.
Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Britain, which has warned it could leave without a deal, published 25 technical notices on Monday covering everything from commercial road haulage and buying timber to airline regulations and taking pets abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Overall, the government has published more than 65 such notices giving a glimpse of what a no-deal Brexit — the nightmare scenario for chief executives of most multinationals operating in Britain — would look like.
Amid warnings that trucks could stack up on both sides of the English Channel in the confusion of a no deal, Britain said it would seek to strike bilateral agreements with European countries to ensure hauliers would retain access.
The notices covered a vast swathe of the British economy, warning, for example, that labels on packaged food would have to be changed.
“Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK,” the government said.
Honey producers would have to change their labels while EU countries might not accept British mineral water, the government said.
In the worse case scenario for pet owners, dogs, cats and even ferrets might need health certificates and rabies jabs. Travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
Without a deal, the UK would move from seamless trade with the rest of the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.
Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain, many Brexiteers say, will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.