Image: HUMAS SATPOL PP Padang/Facebook. Police posted the arrest of 10 women suspected of being lesbians in West Sumatra on Facebook.
On Sunday November 4, municipal police – the Satpol PP - arrested 10 women on suspicion of being lesbians in Padang, West Sumatra.
The women were reported to police after one of them posted a photo on Facebook showing her kissing and hugging her girlfriend. Police undertook reconnaissance before arresting the women on Sunday.
Police also raided boarding houses looking for LGBTI people, instead finding young men and women cohabiting and unable to produce proof of marriage.
“The growing issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behaviour has troubled the police. Almost every day we get reports from the public regarding this LGBT issue, therefore to follow up on this report we do development and reconnaissance," a police spokesperson said.
"On a Facebook account some of the photos uploaded by the account owner show two women cuddling and kissing like men and women."
The women will now be sent to the Office of Social Affairs where they will undergo an “educational program.” No details have been given about what the program involves.
According to Amnesty International, this latest raid is one of four that have taken place in the last month. On October 31, Satpol PP in West Pasaman, West Sumatra, announced that two women had been arrested for being in a lesbian relationship. Three women suspected of being transgender were targeted in October and subjected to extraordinary public humiliation, whilst men who ran a gay Facebook page were charged with “distributing electronic information which contains decency violations.”
The raids are part of a crackdown on LGBTI people that began in 2016, due to the growing influence of conservative Islamic groups. In 2017, police arrested at least 300 people due to their presumed sexual orientation or sexual identity.
Also last year, conservative group Family Love Alliance petitioned the constitutional court to criminalize gay and extramarital sex. In a victory for the LGBTI community, in December the court rejected the petition on the basis that the case was “legally unsound.” Some politicians are working on draft legislation to amend the penal code to make homosexuality illegal.
“This vicious campaign against LGBTI people in Lampung, Padang, West Pasaman and in Indonesia as a whole must immediately stop,” said Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid.
“The police must protect the citizens of this country. They must also investigate the Satpol PP officers and bring perpetrators to justice, otherwise they enable an increasingly worrying climate of impunity.”
“The Satpol PP must be instructed never to perform such acts again. All bylaws including the one in West Sumatra that discriminates against LGBTI people must be repealed.”