JAKARTA, Indonesia: In a legal overhaul that critics say could curb freedoms and police morality in the world's third-largest democracy, Indonesia's parliament has approved sweeping changes to its criminal code this week, including penalizing sex outside of marriage.
The offense could carry a sentence of up to one year in jail, and unmarried couples will be prohibited from living together.
"The state cannot manage morality. The government's duty is not as an umpire between conservative and liberal Indonesia," said Bivitri Susanti, a law expert from the Indonesia Jentera School of Law, as quoted by Reuters.
Most of Indonesia's population is Muslim, but it is also home to Hindus, Christians and people practicing other religions.
While most Indonesian Muslims practice a moderate version of Islam, there has been a rise in religious conservatism in recent years.
Parliament originally intended to ratify a new criminal code in September 2019, but demonstrations over perceived threats to civil liberties halted its passage, forcing legislators to water down some of the articles deemed most contentious.
The new code will come into force in three years after being ratified.