The first gay Indonesian policeman to sue the conservative country’s police force for wrongful dismissal due to sexual orientation was back in court this week, determined to be reinstated.
Tri Teguh Pujianto, a 31-year-old former police brigadier was fired in 2018 after 10 years on the job when police in a different town apprehended him and his partner on Valentine’s Day as they were saying goodbyes at his partner’s workplace.
The landmark case in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation was initially thrown out last year after a judge told Teguh that he had to wait until the police internal appeals process was completed.
That is now over and Teguh refiled his suit in August in what rights groups say is the first case of its kind.
“This is my fight, my last-ditch effort,” Teguh said.
“Why won’t they judge my service for all those years? Why exaggerate my mistakes, which I don’t think were mistakes anyway?” he asked.
With the exception of Sharia-ruled Aceh Province where same-sex relations are banned, homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, although it is generally considered a taboo subject.
However, the Southeast Asian country is becoming less tolerant of the LGBT community as some Indonesian politicians become more vocal about having Islam play a larger role in the state.
A survey by the Pew Research Center this year also showed that 80 percent of Indonesians believe homosexuality “should not be accepted by society.”
Discrimination and violent attacks against LGBT people have increased in the past few years, and police have prosecuted members of the community using anti-pornography and other laws. Lawmakers from four political parties this year have also been trying to garner support, so far unsuccessfully, to pass a bill requiring LGBT people to seek treatment at rehabilitation centers.
The Central Java Police have accused Teguh of breaching “ethical codes of the national police ... by the deviant act of having same-sex intercourse,” a court document shows.
Teguh’s legal team said that they are challenging what they call the “elastic” nature of the police code of conduct given there is no mention of sexual orientation in police regulations.
Representatives for the Central Java Police, Indonesian National Police and the Indonesian National Police Commission did not respond to requests for comment.
Dede Oetomo, a gay academic who runs the advoacy group GAYa NUSANTARA, said that Teguh had made history, whether he wins his case or not.
“He’s broken the mold because he’s brave. My hope is that more activists will emerge from cases like his,” he said.
Teguh now runs a barber shop, a side business that he started in 2013.
He said that he has always had the support of family and his friends in the force for his efforts to regain what has been his dream job since high school.
Asked why he is persevering, Teguh said that he is fighting not only for himself.
“I want to fight for basic human rights, so there will no longer be arbitrary actions taken against minorities,” he said.
Japan’s Mount Aso erupted yesterday, spewing a giant column of ash thousands of meters into the sky as hikers rushed away from the popular tourist spot. No injuries were immediately reported after the late-morning eruption in southwest Japan, which sent rocks flying in a dramatic blast captured by nearby CCTV cameras. People were warned not to approach the volcano as it ejected hot gas and ash as high as 3,500m, and sent stones tumbling down its grassy slopes. Authorities were checking if any hikers had been trapped or injured, officials told local media, as TV footage showed dozens of vehicles and tour buses
South Korea yesterday said that it would lift COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings next week as the country prepares to switch to a “living with COVID-19” strategy amid rising vaccination levels. A new panel established this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual lifting of curbs, aiming to lift restrictions and reopen the economy next month on the expectation that 80 percent of the adult population will be fully vaccinated. From Monday, the South Korean government is to allow gatherings of up to four unvaccinated people and ease operating-hour restrictions imposed on venues such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas, South
‘AVOIDABLE SITUATION’: After being tortured in his home country, a Sri Lankan and his family are at risk of deportation from the UK, despite his academic fellowship A scientist conducting groundbreaking research into renewable energy is facing deportation with his family to Sri Lanka, where he was tortured, after receiving contradictory information about his case from the British Home Office. Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five, went to the UK in 2018 after Muhunthan, who is working on thin-film photovoltaic devices used to generate solar power, was given a prestigious Commonwealth Rutherford fellowship. The award allowed him to reside to the UK for two years to research and develop the technology. His wife obtained a job caring for
A top global law firm is no longer representing the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in seeking the removal of a Tiananmen memorial from its campus after it came under heavy criticism in the US for helping China purge dissent, the Washington Post reported. Mayer Brown is the latest international company to face pressure over how its actions in China contradict its more progressive statements in the West. The 8m high Pillar of Shame sculpture by Danish artist Jens Galschiot has stood on HKU’s campus since 1997, the year the city was handed back to China. It features 50 anguished faces and tortured