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.
URGENT CALL: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency pleaded to gain access to the plant, saying ‘every principle of nuclear safety has been violated The UN’s nuclear chief on Tuesday warned that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine “is completely out of control,” and issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to quickly allow experts to visit the sprawling complex to stabilize the situation and avoid a nuclear accident. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi said in an interview that the situation is getting more perilous every day at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, which Russian troops seized in early March, soon after their Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been
On a beach in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, just a few kilometers from Taiwan’s Kinmen, life is carefree, despite some of the worst cross-strait tensions in decades. Ignoring warnings from Beijing, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday — the highest-ranking elected US official to visit the nation in 25 years — sparking a diplomatic firestorm. China yesterday launched some of its largest-ever military drills — exercises set to disrupt one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. However, on Xiamen’s palm-fringed beach, there was little concern. “A war? No, I don’t care,” a young IT worker surnamed
According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re going to get.” Now, an Indian remake of the movie has been hit by boycott calls over years-old comments by its Muslim star, Aamir Khan. It is the latest example of how Bollywood actors, particularly minority Muslims such as Khan, are feeling increased pressure under Hindu nationalist Indian Prime Minister Modi. Laal Singh Chaddha, an Indian spin on the 1994 Hollywood hit with Tom Hanks, is expected to be one of India’s biggest films of the year. This is due in large part to its
ACROPORA REVIVAL: A marine science official said that the results of recent studies showed that the reef can still recover in periods that are free of intense disturbances Parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef now have the highest levels of coral cover in decades, an Australian government report said yesterday. Portions of the UNESCO heritage site showed a marked increase in coral cover in the past year, reaching levels not seen in 36 years of monitoring, the Australian Institute of Marine Science said. Scientists surveying 87 sites said that northern and central parts of the reef had bounced back from damage more quickly than some had expected, thanks mainly to fast-growing Acropora — a branching coral that supports thousands of marine species. “These latest results demonstrate the reef can still recover