The final draft of the KUHP revision criminal code includes articles that critics fear would overcriminalize common social practices, such as cohabitation and consensual sex between unmarried people.

The bill could also lead to more acts of vigilantism such as in the Cikupa case and may target vulnerable groups, including women and the destitute. In a recent virtual discussion on criminalizing adultery, women’s rights activist Naila Rizai Zakiah said lawmakers had been ignoring expert opinion relating to articles on adultery, especially in regard to the parties that have the right to make the report.

Adultery in the proposed KUHP revision is stipulated in articles 417, 418 and 419, in which the parents, husband, wife or children of the offenders could report a case to the police.

Activists insisted that only the husband or wife should be able to report such cases to the police — as stipulated in the current code — as they are the only parties whose rights are being violated. Naila stated that- “In stipulating terms for adultery, the Criminal Code values privacy in that only partners may report [the violation],” “Overcriminalization not only harms the country but also its people  That mistake should not be repeated.”

Indonesia has in recent years been blamed for contributing to the erosion of civil liberties by allowing for the criminalization of free speech through regulations such as the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law and the Narcotics Law.

Activists argue that conservative legislators have for years attempted to test the limits of freedoms by revising the draconian penal code, which has remained largely unchanged since it was inherited from the Dutch colonial era.


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