Sex outside marriage becomes a crime in Indonesia, where Parliament approved a new penal code that criminalizes sexual relations other than between married people. The new code, which also applies to foreign residents and tourists, prohibits cohabitation before marriage, apostasy and provides for punishments for those who insult the president or express opinions contrary to the national ideology. The crime of blasphemy, already foreseen in Indonesia, now carries a possible five-year prison sentence.
“Everyone agreed to ratify the law,” said MP Bambang Wuryanto, who headed the parliamentary commission charged with revising the penal code in force since the colonial era. “The old code belongs to Dutch heritage,” he added. Abortion remains prohibited, but adds two exceptions: in the event of rape and in the event that a medical intervention is necessary to save the woman’s life. The promotion of contraception is also illegal. Rights activists and critics have warned that the new penal code will have “a disproportionate impact on women” and further curtail human rights and freedoms in the Muslim-majority country, home to over 270 million people .