by Rachel Ogbu
Indonesia has proposed new Criminal Code outlawing black magic, white magic, however, will remain legal.
Under revised law, anyone found guilty of using black magic to cause “someone’s illness, death, mental or physical suffering,” could be sentenced to five years in jail or up to 300 million rupiah in fines.
According to reports, the revised 500-page document is intended to modernise the 1918 Criminal Code, which was last updated in 1958 which did not have laws on witchcraft or dark magic. Penalties can be increased by a third if the sorcerer offers to perform a spell for compensation and it would also become illegal to claim to posses dark magical powers.
Under Article 293 of the revised KUHP, “everyone who believes that they have magic power, informing hope, offering services that they can cause illness, death, mental or physical suffering to someone, can be sanctioned to spend at the longest five years in jail or be fined at the largest Category IV [Rp 300 million, or $30,794].”
Andi Hamzah, head drafter of the Criminal Code Law (KUHP) revision said that the article which would punish witchcraft is intended to protect people from fraud and deception, but a politician argued that it violates the rights of witches and psychics.
“It’s not about the witchcraft, but the deception that is being stipulated by the criminal code. The article [about witchcraft] is to protect people [from being deceived] because there are people claiming they could cast a spell on someone else, but asking for 50 cows or pigs in return,” Hamzah said.
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma’ruf Amin said black magic and witchcraft were also prohibited in the Koran. “We have declared since a long time ago that performing witchcraft and black magic is haram [forbidden]. We hope legal experts will come up with the method to prove the offense,” he said.
The revised Criminal Code also has a maximum sentence of one year in prison for couples living together outside of wedlock, according to a report in the Jakarta Globe.