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First Chechnya, now Indonesia: Police have been told to target LGBT+ citizens

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A police chief in West Java – one of Indonesia’s most populous provinces – has announced plans to persecute gay people in the region.

Anton Charliyan has ordered a task force to identify and persecute LGBT+ citizens, and has called upon the public to help him with his efforts.

“I hope there are no followers in West Java, no gay or LGBT lifestyle or tradition,” Charliyan announced, according to Reuters.

“If there’s anyone following it, they will face the law and heavy social sanctions. They will not be accepted in society.”

The police chief also described gay people as suffering from a “disease of the body and soul”.

It comes days after two men were publicly caned 83 times in front of a crowd of 2,500 people for having sex out of wedlock.

Over the weekend, 141 men were rounded up and detained after having a “gay sex party” in a sauna.

While homosexuality isn’t illegal in Indonesia, sexual intercourse between people who aren’t married is.

Considering same-sex marriage isn’t legal in the country, this effectively means gay sex is against the law.

Following his announcement of a special task force, activists criticised Charliyan’s plans.

“Police have a mandate to follow the law,” said Yuli Rustinawati, chairperson of the LGBT rights group Arus Pelangi. “They are not the morals police.”

This comes despite Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, promising to protect LGBT+ in a statement last year.

“The police must act [to protect them],” Jokowi said back in October. “There should be no discrimination against anyone.”

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