Indonesian police make mass arrests after raid on 'gay party'

It is the latest sign of growing hostility towards Indonesia's small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Called "the Wild One", it featured strip dancing and other entertainment for gay guests, the head of one of Jakarta's Police Crime Investigation Units said, as cited by the local Merdeka.

"In the raid, we arrested 141 men suspected of violating the law on pornography", Yuwono said.

The other detained men are still being questioned by police as potential witnesses in the case.

Febry added that the police further humiliated those arrested by taking their photos while they were topless and with their faces visible.

Police said four foreigners were among those arrested - one Briton, one Singaporean and two Malaysians.

The detentions follow a similar raid earlier this month in Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya, where officials published the results of HIV tests of several men suspected of gay sex, media said.

A coalition of legal aid and criminal justice reform groups condemned the raid and "arbitrary" arrests.

"If they are found not guilty, please immediately release them and restore their good name", Febry said.

Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian law, but the LGBT community has come under pressure since government officials expressed reservations a year ago about activism by its members. The men were sentenced to 85 lashes, which will take place publicly in the provincial capital on Tuesday.

Last week, two men were sentenced to public caning in Aceh after being convicted for engaging in gay sex - in the first such ruling since tough anti-homosexuality laws were introduced there in 2014.

Homosexuality isn't illegal in most parts of Indonesia, but it's thought some of the men could be prosecuted under the country's strict anti-pornography laws.

  • Leroy Wright