This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia
A former police officer from Central Java may be the first person in Indonesia to have been fired from the police force for his sexual orientation. Since March 26th, the ex-policeman has been demanding justice from the Central Javanese by filing a lawsuit against the Indonesian Police Force for violating his human rights. He feels he was unjustly terminated; he claims to have never taken a bribe or been responsible for disciplinary misconduct, which are rampant among Indonesian police.
The Jakarta Post identified the policeman in question by his initials TT. He lost his job after coming out as gay. Local police then claimed he failed to execute his duty as a police officer to protect the image and reputation of the police force, including adhering to religious norms, codes of decency, and local values.
The police officer of ten years says he heard of his dismissal from colleagues, who claimed to have heard the news during a ceremony that TT was not a part of. He finally received a formal letter of dishonourable dismissal in February.
“Serving the public as a police officer for the past ten years has been my pride. I have given my best my entire career, and they fired me just like that for reasons that pertain to my private life and don’t endanger anyone else. I am extremely disappointed,” TT said in an interview with The Jakarta Post.
A spokesperson for the Central Java Police Force, Agus Triatmaja, said TT’s dismissal was justified after police conducted an internal investigation. “We have rejected his request to appeal,” Agus said.
The internal investigation in question also involved inhumane treatment, TT says. On Valentine’s Day two years ago, after having dinner at a restaurant, nine armed police officers waited for him at his car. At first they accused him of extortion, and other police officers forced him and his partner to follow them to the police station in the Kudus region. After 12 hours of interrogation, he learned his fellow officers were trying to coerce him into admitting his sexual orientation.
“I told the truth that I’m homosexual,” TT told The Jakarta Post.
In a country that has constantly waged war against sexual minorities, news of TT’s discriminatory dismissal never caught much attention. Indonesian news platforms, with the exception of The Jakarta Post, didn’t think much of it. Local media only covered the ceremony where 15 Central Javanese police personnel were dismissed for various violations, from desertion and theft to drug use and moral misconduct.
TT’s attorney from the Social Legal Aid Foundation, Ma’ruf Bajammal, said his office filed a human rights violation report to the National Human Rights Commission on April 10th.
“We believe, from a human rights perspective, [TT] did nothing wrong. His dismissal [from the police force] on the grounds of his sexual orientation constitutes a violation of the non-discrimination regulation,” Ma’ruf told The Jakarta Post.
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