Aussie tourists in Bali could be jailed for having SEX outside marriage under strict new law ‘in line with Indonesian values’

  • Sex and cohabiting before marriage are both set to be banned by Indonesia
  • The punishment for sex outside marriage in the country could be year in jail 
  • Move will impact visitors, including millions of Aussie tourists who visit Bali 

Aussies travelling to Bali could face a year in jail if they have sex outside of marriage under a strict new law the country says is ‘in line with Indonesian values’. 

Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Aussies, with over a million visiting in a typical year. 

However, the Muslim majority country is now set to introduce tough new laws which will also apply to tourists and visitors. 

Not only will sex outside marriage be banned, but so will living with your partner before you are married, according to the new criminal code which is set to be passed on December 15. 

Indonesia’s deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, told Reuters: ‘We’re proud to have a criminal code that’s in line with Indonesian values,’

A previous draft of the code was set to be passed in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated at the time against a raft of laws, especially those seen to regulate morality and free speech, which they said would curtail civil liberties.

Critics say minimal changes to the code have been made since then, although the government has in recent months held public consultations around the country to provide information about the changes.

Some changes that have been made include a provision that could allow the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment after 10 years of good behaviour.

The criminalisation of abortion, with the exception of rape victims, and imprisonment for ‘black magic’, remain in the code.

Insulting the president, a charge that can only be reported by the president, will also attract a maximum of three years in jail.

The deputy justice minister dismissed criticism, saying the final version of the draft would ensure that regional laws adhered to national legislation, and the new code would not threaten democratic freedoms.

A revised version of the criminal code has been discussed since Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch in 1945

In what might be a saving grace for Aussies, sex outside marriage can only be reported by limited parties such as close relatives, according to the latest draft of the bill.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has hundreds of regulations at the local level that discriminate against women, religious minorities, and LGBT people.

The changes to the code would be a ‘huge a setback to Indonesian democracy’, said Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch.

Indonesia’s Employers’ Association deputy chair Shinta Widjaja Sukamdani told Reuters the new laws would ‘do more harm than good’ in the tourism sector.

‘For the business sector, the implementation of this customary law shall create legal uncertainty and make investors reconsider investing in Indonesia,’ she said.



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