Following national outcry over the sexual assault and murder of a 14-year-old girl, Indonesia may impose stricter penalties for child sex abusers that include implanting microchips, chemical castration, and even the death penalty .
Currently, the crime of sexually assaulting a child could be penalized by a maximum of 15 years in prison under Indonesian law. Locals began a social media campaign to impose harsher punishment following a murder that has rocked the nation.
In April, a teenage girl from Sumatra was walking home from school when a group of men sexually assaulted her. The victim’s body was discovered three days later in the woods, according to The Star Online.
The incident initially received little coverage from the national press, but a social media campaign drew attention to the relatively soft sentencing for the country’s sex offenders.
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The murder has gained further attention with the arrest and sentencing of seven teenagers in relation to the girl’s murder, with an additional five grown men awaiting trial. Public pressure has led the Indonesian government to consider new measures to discourage sexual assault.
Among the punishments being considered is the implanting of microchips into the ankles of those convicted of sexual assault and also pedophiles. That way, their every movement can be tracked.
Asrorun Niam Sholeh of the National Commission for Child Protection, a human rights group, deems microchips an effective tool.
“The microchip will be fitted before criminals are released from prison, and is needed to monitor and locate them after they are freed,” Sholeh said.
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Indonesia’s Minister for Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly, has also called life in prison and the death penalty potential punishments, according to ABC Australia.
“The jail term should be up to a life sentence,” Laoly said. “But if the victim is dead the punishment option will be up to the death sentence. Also if the victim becomes disabled the death sentence should be an option.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has endorsed all of these measures, including chemically castrating convicted child sex offenders.
“I want to give a warning about sexual violence against children,” Widodo said. “I want this to be considered an extraordinary crime, so the handling of it would also be in an extraordinary way.”
President Widodo does not need permission from the Indonesian parliament to pass these new laws; he has the authority to impose them by decree.
Human rights activist Lathiefah Widuri Retyaningtyas has spoken out against using chemical castration, a hormonal therapy that suppresses testosterone.
“Castration is not a solution,” Retyaningtyas said. “We believe that it will extend the chain of sexual abuse because it is also a form of sexual torture.”
Chemical castration is a punishment for sex crimes or a voluntary measure for sex offenders looking to reduce their prison sentences in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Estonia, Israel, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland and Russia, according to CNN.