Indonesian police investigate detention of transgender women in Aceh

"We don't hate gay, bisexual or transgender people. What we hate is their actions, and if we can prove their actions, they will be punished."

February 2, 2018 11:23
1 minute read.
A street vendor walks past a banner reading 'Indonesia LGBT Emergency'

A street vendor walks past a banner reading 'Indonesia LGBT Emergency' in front a mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia. (photo credit: BEAWIHARTA BEAWIHARTA/ REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


BANDA ACEH - Indonesia's national police chief has ordered an investigation into the detention of 12 transgender women in the province of Aceh, officials said on Friday, after reports that they were stripped, beaten and forced to cut their hair before being released without charge.

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population but Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra, is the only province that enforces Islamic law and outlaws homosexuality.

Religious police and vigilantes in the ultra-conservative province often raid homes and places of work and detain people on suspicion of engaging in homosexual activity.

Police in North Aceh raided hair salons - where transgender people often work - last weekend and briefly detained 12 individuals. Rights activists and media reports said they were forced to cut their hair and were stripped and beaten.

"There were photos circulated that led us to suspect that there had been physical action taken against the suspects," Misbahul Munauwar, a spokesman for Aceh police, said. "The national police chief has instructed us to investigate those photos and to determine if there was any...procedural or ethical violation."

A national police spokesman confirmed that police chief Tito Karnavian had ordered the investigation.

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups welcomed the move, which comes amid a rising tide of hostility against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Police in Aceh and elsewhere have stepped up raids on what they call "gay spas" and "gay sex parties" in recent months, detaining people on charges of violating strict anti-pornography laws.

Dozens of protesters on Friday staged an anti-LGBT rally outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

"We don't hate gay, bisexual or transgender people. What we hate is their actions, and if we can prove their actions, they will be punished," Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf told the small crowd.

Last year, the provincial and central governments drew international condemnation after authorities in Aceh tried two young men on charges of engaging in gay sex and then publicly caned them - the first such case in the country. Indonesia's parliament is also drafting revisions to the national criminal code that could ban all consensual sex outside marriage.

The parliamentary commission drawing up recommendations has still to finalize its proposals, but a draft seen by Reuters includes measures to criminalize extramarital sex, same-sex relations and co-habitation, all of which were previously unregulated.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

BORIS JOHNSON, one of many contenders for the Conservative leadership
July 24, 2019
5 Jewish things to know about Boris Johnson


Cookie Settings