Indonesian soldier imprisoned for same-sex relations as military reiterates firm stance against LGBT

The Indonesian Military (TNI) is toughening its stance against LGBT communities and individuals within its ranks following the imprisonment of a chief private for having same-sex relations.

Court documents published on the Supreme Court’s official website on Wednesday revealed that the a military court in Semarang, Central Java sentenced the defendant, known by his initial P, to one year in prison after he was found guilty of having sex with another man. P was dismissed from the military.

Based on testimonies heard by the court, P, who joined the military in 2008, had consensual sexual relations with his lover, who was also identified as a member of the military but ranked lower than P. 

Even so, the court found that P was guilty of violating Article 103 of the Military Criminal Code on disobedience to service orders. The disobedience referred to violations of morality clauses contained in telegrams issued by military chiefs in 2009 and 2019, which strictly prohibit military personnel from committing “sexual perversions,” such as being involved in LGBT relationships.

Following P’s verdict, the head of the Military Chamber at the Supreme Court, retired Maj. Gen Burhan Dahlan yesterday offered some insight to the LGBT “problem” in the military. He gave the example of the existence of LGBT groups comprising dozens of soldiers and police officers.

“There are new [LGBT] groups for TNI and police, led by sergeants. Some of the members are lieutenant colonels. This is unique, but it’s the reality,” Burhan said during a virtual talk via the Supreme Court’s YouTube account.

“[LGBT behavior] is mostly caused by social relationships, and mostly caused by watching videos on WhatsApp, like BDSM videos, that have created deviant behaviors. Among them is the creation of the drive to relief one’s libido on a member of the same sex.”

On this reasoning, Burhan said he and military leaders were disappointed that the military court recently acquitted some 20 officers who were involved in an LGBT group. The court found that they weren’t guilty as same-sex relations is not a crime under the Criminal Code (KUHP).

“It’s surely not wrong [in accordance with KUHP], but to the TNI this is a huge mistake. Why did the judge decide to acquit them?” Burhan said, without offering further details about this military court case.

Responding to Burhan’s statement, TNI spokesman Col. Sus Aidil said firm sanctions await LGBT military officers based on the same law and morality clauses used to imprison P. Put simply, he said there is no place for LGBT individuals in the Indonesian military as same-sex relations are “at odds with military discipline.”

Also Read — Indonesia ministries ban pregnant, LGBT job seekers: report

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