Police raid gay club in Jakarta, arrest 141

Police in the Indonesian capital Jakarta raided a gay club and arrested 141 people on suspicion of involvement in “gay prostitution”, an officer said.

Ten people have been named suspects after the raid on Atlantis Gym and Sauna in north Jakarta on Sunday night, including the club’s owners and organizers of an event featuring a striptease, said local police detective chief Nasriadi, who goes by one name.

Four foreigners – two Malaysians, one Singaporean and one Briton – were among those arrested, Nasriadi said.

Rights activists condemned the arrests after photos of naked and shirtless club-goers being rounded up by police circulated on the internet.

“Such arbitrary action degrades the humanity of the victims,” said the Coalition Against Violence Against Sexual Minorities.

Homosexuals in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country have been on the defensive following last year’s barrage of anti-gay rhetoric and actions by officials.

Last week, a court in the sharia-ruled province of Aceh sentenced a male couple to 85 strokes of the cane for gay sex.

The two were scheduled to be publicly caned on Tuesday morning, said an official at the prosecutor’s office in Banda Aceh.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch urged President Joko Widodo to intervene and stop the caning.

“Jokowi needs to be clear to Aceh’s authorities that flogging is torture for which they will be held to account,” said Phelim Kine, the New York-based rights group’s deputy director for Asia, using the president’s nickname.

Last month, police in Indonesia’s second-largest city Surabaya raided hotel rooms and detained eight men for participating in a “gay sex party.”

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