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.


Death toll from Taliban attack in Afghan capital rises to 12

Updated 2 min 38 sec ago
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Death toll from Taliban attack in Afghan capital rises to 12

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says the death toll from a suicide bombing on the outskirts of Kabul on Tuesday has climbed to 12.
Nasrat Rahimi, the Interior Ministry’s deputy spokesman, says Wednesday that four security forces and eight civilians, including two women and two children, were killed in the suicide car bombing, which targeted a security convoy. He says 12 other people were wounded.
The Taliban, who effectively control nearly half the country and carry out daily attacks on security forces, claimed the bombing.