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A Shariah Police officer passes a mosque during a raid in Banda Aceh, Indonesia on June 7, 2012. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)
Banda Aceh Deputy Mayor Pushes for Bylaw Criminalizing Same-Sex Relationships

in INDONESIA, 09/05/2013

Homosexual men and women living in Indonesia’s strictly conservative Aceh province would be publicly lashed 100 times under a proposed bylaw backed by the provincial capital’s deputy governor.

Banda Aceh Deputy Mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal called homosexuality “a social disease that should be eradicated,” as she pushed for harsher bylaws against sexual behavior that runs counter to the region’s adherence to Islamic Shariah Law.

The Aceh Legislative Council (DPRA) is discussing proposed changes to the province’s bylaws, including a bylaw criminalizing homosexuality. The proposed bylaw received the support of the deputy mayor, who bemoaned the fact that police were unable to punish same-sex couples under current regulations. “There is no law that could be used to charge them,” Illiza said. “The existing [regulations] only stipulate about khalwat [being in close proximity] for intimate relations between unmarried males and females.”

Banda Aceh’s Shariah Police have struggled to crack down on same-sex relationships, Illiza said. Couples meet in rented rooms and pursue relationships under a veil of secrecy, she said.

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