Asia

Indonesian police arrest 141 men over 'gay sex party'

Indonesian police officers stand guard as men arrested in a raid are shown to the media during a news conference at a police station in Jakarta, Indonesia, 22 May 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Being gay is not banned in Jakarta, but police said the men could be charged under anti-pornography laws

Indonesian police have arrested 141 men attending what they called a "gay sex party" at a sauna in the capital Jakarta late on Sunday.

Police said attendees, including a Briton and a Singaporean, paid 185,000 rupiahs ($14; £10) to attend.

Indonesia has witnessed increasing hostility towards its small and low-profile LGBTQ community.

Homosexuality is not illegal under Indonesian law, except in conservative Aceh province.

But Jakarta police spokesman Raden Argo Yuwono said some of those detained could be charged under Indonesia's harsh anti-pornography laws.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia except in ultra-conservative Aceh province
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Earlier this month police made similar arrests in the city of Surabaya

"There were gay people who were caught strip-teasing and masturbating in the scene," he told BBC Indonesian.

Under the ambiguously-worded laws, putting on a live strip show for the enjoyment of the public could be construed as "pornography".

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.

Earlier this month, Indonesian police arrested 14 people in the city of Surabaya for allegedly holding a gay party. They could also face charges under anti-pornography laws.

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