Gay Indonesian policeman loses legal bid for reinstatement - lawyers

by Reuters
Thursday, 7 January 2021 14:01 GMT

Police officers stand guard while enforcing large-scale social restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

Image Caption and Rights Information
Ex-brigadier Tri Teguh Pujianto was fired from his job of 10 years for being in a same-sex relationship

By Stanley Widianto

JAKARTA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - A gay Indonesian policeman dismissed from the force because of his sexual orientation has lost his legal fight to be reinstated, after a Central Java court rejected his lawsuit, his lawyers said on Thursday.

Tri Teguh Pujianto, a 31-year-old former police brigadier, was fired in 2018 after 10 years in the job, after police from a different town apprehended he and his partner on Valentine's Day when they were saying their goodbyes at his partner's workplace.

Teguh's lawyers from the non-governmental group Community Legal Aid Institute in a statement said the local administrative court had rejected his suit.

The court's website confirmed that a decision had been made but did not state the outcome. A court official contacted by Reuters did not immediately respond to a request for comment

Aisya Humaida, one of Teguh's lawyers, said they were still considering their options, including an appeal.

She expressed disappointment at the court's decision not to proceed with a case during which the legal team had sought to prove that discrimination had occurred.

A spokesman for Central Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Deemed a landmark case by rights groups, it was initially thrown out in 2019 because a judge told Teguh that an internal police appeals process had yet to be completed. He resubmitted his lawsuit last August.

Apart from the sharia-ruled province of Aceh where same-sex relations are banned, homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia although it is widely seen as taboo.

Central Java police had accused Teguh of violating police ethical codes "by the deviant act of having same-sex intercourse", according to a court document.

Usman Hamid, director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the ruling "could create a bad and dangerous precedent for other members of the police".

Teguh told Reuters in an interview last month that his most current suit was his "last-ditch effort." (Additional reporting by Budi Purwanto in Semarang, Indonesia; Editing by Martin Petty)

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