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Sex Outside Marriage Will Be Illegal Under Indonesia’s Sweeping New Criminal Code

The rules will apply to locals and foreigners alike

Indonesia's parliament passed long-awaited amendments to its colonial-era criminal code on Tuesday. Authorities have pushed for more than half a century to modify the country's existing penal code, which Indonesia inherited from its former Dutch administration when it gained independence in 1949. But the revised code, which could take up to three years before it is fully adopted, introduces several controversial statutes that many observers believe will threaten human rights and civil liberties in the third-largest democracy and largest Muslim-majority nation in the world.

A copy of the legislation seen by TIME includes amendments that penalize insulting the country's president and vice president, spreading fake news, having sex outside marriage and committing religious blasphemy. The rules will apply to locals and foreigners alike. Many legal experts and activists decry that the changes signal a democratic backslide in the Southeast Asian nation of 276 million.

Indonesia’s parliament had planned on ratifying a new code in 2019, but some of the most controversial proposals sparked nationwide protests, and President Joko Widodo urged lawmakers to delay the process to consider public feedback.

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