Updated: 03/09/2013 04:39 | By Agence France-Presse

Indonesia mulls criminalising unmarried cohabiting couples

Indonesia is deliberating criminalising unmarried couples living together and lengthening jail terms for adulterers, a lawmaker said Friday, in plans that activists have dubbed regressive.


Indonesia mulls criminalising unmarried cohabiting couples

Indonesia mulls criminalising unmarried cohabiting couples

The proposals were drafted by the Justice and Human Rights Ministry as the House of Representatives revises the nation's dated criminal code, garnering support from several members.

"If couples are living in one home and aren't married, of course they should be sanctioned," Khatibul Umam Wiranu, a member of the commission overseeing the revision, told AFP.

"In my opinion, adultery is the root of many social problems."

The proposed revision would raise the maximum jail term for adultery from nine months' jail -- considered "too light" by the ministry -- to 30 months, while couples living together outside marriage could face five years.

Rights activists said elements of the 500-page draft revision were politically motivated, aimed at winning votes of key conservative demographics ahead of legislative elections next year.

"We've seen this before when the parliament passed the anti-pornography law to appease conservatives ahead of the last elections," Haris Azhar of the prominent rights groups Kontras said.

Cohabitation of unmarried couples is generally frowned upon in Indonesia, Azhar said, though such cases were becoming more common.

"If there are moral concerns about it, they should be addressed maturely and peacefully in the community, not through the law," Azhar said, adding that jailing Indonesians for such cases was extreme.

The draft also includes an article to ban "black magic" that causes death or suffering, carrying a sentence of five years in prison.

Claiming to possess the powers of black magic would also be a criminal offence, while "white magic", or good magic, would remain legal.

Sandrayati Moniaga of the National Human Rights Commission said laws on morality were unnecessary and that the state should not intervene in people's personal affairs.

"It's none of the government's business, it's each person's business with God and their partner," she said. "Adultery and cohabiting are personal problems."

The parliament has long promised to update Indonesia's criminal code, drafted in 1918 based on Dutch law and last updated in 1958.

The current code criminalises theft of anything above 250 rupiah (three cents), punishable by a maximum sentence of five years' jail or a fine of just 900 rupiah.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。