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Malaysia

Indonesian man arrested over LGBT Facebook page

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but police plan to charge the men with breaking anti-pornography laws ©Adek Berry (AFP pic)

BANDUNG: An Indonesian man has been arrested for running a Facebook page that catered to the gay community, police said Monday, under a sweeping Internet law criticised by rights groups.

The administrator — whose name and age were not released — was arrested Thursday along with his boyfriend in Bandung city after an internet user reported to police that the page contained pornographic content, including selling sexual services.

The man was charged with violating Indonesia’s electronic information law, which critics say is vague and open to misuse.

He could face a maximum six years in prison and a one billion rupiah ($66,000) fine if found guilty, police said.

The suspect’s boyfriend was still being questioned as a witness over the Facebook page, which had been operating since 2015 and had more than 4,000 members, authorities said.

It mainly operated as a hangout platform for the gay community in Bandung, a city east of the capital Jakarta, but police said they also found adult content and massage services on offer.

“Anyone can be punished if they commit something that is against the law,” West Java police spokesman Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko told AFP on Monday.

Homosexuality and gay sex are legal in Indonesia — except in conservative Aceh province, which is ruled by Islamic law — but same-sex relationships are widely frowned upon and public displays of affection between gay couples almost unheard of.

Rights activists say police have bolstered a campaign to crack down on the Southeast Asian nation’s small LGBT community.

In January, two Indonesian men were arrested for allegedly uploading a video of themselves having sex to social media.

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