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Indonesia Outlaws Witchcraft, Abortion, Sex Outside Marriage in New Laws

Liputan6.com, Jakarta - The Parliament of Indonesia officially passed the sweeping new criminal laws on Tuesday (6/12/2022). The law is passed under the parliament which is dominated by President Joko Widodo's coalition.

This new set of laws is replacing the previous one which was made by the Netherlands during colonization. 

Controversies are erupting from the new laws. One of them is punishment for those who "insult" the president and parliament. 

In 2022, Indonesia also outlaws witchcraft, and women can be sent to jail if they seek abortion. Read the explanations below: 

Sex Outside Marriage

One of the most controversials law is concerning having sex outside marriage and living with someone outside marriage. The Islamic parties have been vocal in supporting such laws.

International media outlets, including the New York Times, reports that Indonesia "outlaws sex outside of marriage". However, it is not that simple. 

Article 411 states that those who have sex with someone else outside marriage can be jailed up to 1 year or fined up to Rp 10 million (around US$ 639).

But that law has limitations. The couples can only be reported by their legal partners, parents, and children. The same limitation goes with the law that prohibits living together outside marriage. 

No age limitation for those laws. In other words, a 28-year-old could be reported by their parents if they have sex outside marriage or live with their partner in Indonesia. 

Witchcraft

Indonesian lawmakers also actually set witchcraft as a punishable crime. Article 252 says that those who claim to have supernatural power and offer to harm others can be jailed up to 1,5 years or fined up to Rp 200 millions (US$ 12,783). 

Indonesian law will add punishment if a person is a professional witch or wizard who monetizes their supernatural ability.

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Don't Insult the Government Law

Abortion

The abortion restriction in Indonesia is restricting all women who need access to abortion. Indonesia also criminalizes those who provide abortion service.

Clause 463 says that women who performed abortion can be jailed up to 4 years. There is exception for pregnancy because of rape, but the limit is 14 weeks or showing indication of medical emergency.

The abortion providers can be jailed up to 5 years, even though the prengnant woman gives their consent.

Abortion without consent is facing higher punishment. The providers can be jailed up to 12 years.

The law also directly threatens doctors, midwives, and paramedics who assist in the abortion.

Insulting the President and the Parliament 

This new law also provides solid protection for the president, vice president, and government agencies. People can be jailed if they "insult" or "demean" the government. 

Clause 140 defines insult as "the action which humiliates or harm the respect or the image of the government or government agencies." 

The law draws a line between criticism and insult. It says critics is a part of freedom of expression, although it needs to be as constructive as possible.

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