Experts and activists from various institutions lambasted the Criminal Code bill on Thursday, saying articles regulating immoral behavior in the draft law went too far into the private lives of citizens.
The House of Representatives is currently deliberating the bill, which, among other things, would expand the definition of adultery and criminalize consensual sex between two unmarried persons.
The bill could also potentially criminalize same-sex relationships as it will include consensual homosexual acts between adults. Currently, only pedophilia is prohibited.
Jentera School of Law lecturer Anugerah Rizki Akbari said neither the government nor the House seemed to have a clear vision of what changes they wanted to make in the Criminal Code bill.
Anugerah said the current Criminal Code, which is based on Dutch colonial law, penalized extramarital sex as a way to protect the institution of marriage.
“Who or what is protected by criminalizing consensual sex between unmarried people? Who is the victim here?” he said.
Imam Nahe’i, an Islamic teacher and a National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) commissioner, agreed, adding that from a Muslim perspective, criminalization of adultery should be narrowed, not widened.
“The level of evidence needed to prove adultery is very high in Islam,” he said. “To prove murder, you only need two witnesses. To prove adultery, you need four witnesses.”
Ratna Batara Munti from the Women’s Legal Aid foundation echoed their sentiments, saying the bill increased the number of “victimless crimes.”
“The government should not arbitrarily take away personal freedoms in the name of morality,” she said. (kmt/ebf)