Dozens arrested in raid on Jakarta gay sauna

Dozens arrested in raid on Jakarta gay sauna

Dozens of men, including several foreigners, have been arrested in a raid of a gay sauna in Indonesia's capital, police say.

Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said the raid in downtown Jakarta on Friday (local time) would lead to seven people being charged under Indonesia's pornography law, including the sauna's owner and staffers.

They face penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines.

Mr Yuwono said the other 51 men would be released if they were found to not be criminals or carrying drugs.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia except in Aceh province, but the country's LGBT community has come under siege recently.

Police have set up a special task force to investigate activities by gay people and a case before the country's top court is seeking to criminalise homosexual sex.

A coalition of legal reform groups condemned the raid and "arbitrary" arrests, as it did a similar raid in May when police detained 141 men for questioning.

During that incident the coalition said police violated the rights of those arrested by photographing them naked and facilitating the spread of those images on social media.

"We treated them well," Mr Yuwono said of the most recent raid.

"They came out from the scene with proper clothes and their faces were covered."

He said police were still working to identify all of the men and question witnesses.

The United Nations has previously called on Indonesian authorities to release people detained on the basis of their sexual orientation and to combat anti-gay stigma in the country.