Lawmakers in Indonesia on Tuesday approved a comprehensive new criminal code that prohibits sex outside of marriage.
GWG.NG reports that presently in Indonesia, public lashings are regularly used as punishment for a variety of crimes, such as adultery and homosexuality.
Cohabitation before marriage and apostasy are prohibited by the recent legislation, which also extends to international residents and visitors. It also imposes penalties for insulting the government or making statements that are incompatible with the country’s philosophy.
With 270 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world and has experienced a surge in religious conservatism recently. In some areas of the country, such as the semi-autonomous Aceh province where alcohol and gambling are prohibited, harsh Islamic regulations are already in effect.
The passage of an earlier version of the new criminal code was scheduled for 2019 but was delayed as a result of widespread protests that led Indonesian President Joko Widodo to step in.
Widodo stated that he suspended the vote after “carefully examining opinions from diverse parties who have reservations on certain substantial elements of the criminal code” in a broadcast at the time.
The crime of blasphemy, which was formerly punishable by a five-year prison term in Indonesia, now carries a maximum one-year prison penalty under the new rule that also criminalises sex outside of marriage.