“A step back towards authoritarian rule” Indonesia passes controversial criminal code | DW News

Indonesian lawmakers on Tuesday pushed through a revised criminal code despite widespread opposition from the public and civil society.

Along with punishing sex and co-habitation outside marriage with jail terms, the 200-page code outlaws “defamation” of the president and state institutions and expands the definition of blasphemy.

Indonesian civil rights activists say the new criminal code is a major setback for freedoms earned following the country’s emergence from the Suharto dictatorship in 1998.

Citra Referandum, a civil rights lawyer from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), said she expects “a lot of people will be going to jail,” especially those who criticize the government and its policies.

“Expressing your opinion will be seen as an insult to the president, vice president and state institutions,” she told DW.

According to the new code, “defaming” leaders and state institutions can be sentenced up to 5 years in prison, or a heavy fine.

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