Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 4 News List

`Playboy Indonesia' editor cleared of porn charge

AP , JAKARTA

The editor in chief of Playboy Indonesia, Erwin Arnada, listens to a judge during his trial at South Jakarta District Court, Indonesia, yesterday.

PHOTO: EPA

Playboy Indonesia's editor-in-chief did not violate indecency laws in the world's most populous Muslim nation and will not serve jail time, judges ruled yesterday, angering many religious hardliners.

Erwin Arnada had faced a maximum punishment of more than two-and-a-half years in prison for publishing the magazine, which includes photos of women in undergarments, some with partially exposed breasts, but no nudity.

Pictures

Though the pictures are less risque than in other magazines being sold in the country, rock-throwing conservatives demanded that the toned-down version of Playboy be closed immediately after it first hit newsstands one year ago.

Efran Basyuning, presiding judge of the South Jakarta District Court, said pictures presented during the monthslong trial could not "be categorized as pornography," a ruling hailed by Arnada as a victory for free speech.

"Playboy Indonesia is grateful to the readers and advertisers who have supported the magazine through this difficult time," he told reporters at the courthouse, which was rung by more than 600 police officers.

Islamic Defenders

But more than a hundred members of the Islamic Defenders' Front, a small group with a history of attacking bars and nightclubs, gathered nearby shouted "Allah Akbar! We reject the verdict!"

"This is a bitter pill," said Bachtiar Ali, one of the organizers. "Do we have to wait until our wives and daughters are raped? We will keep fighting. Pornography is a moral crime that destroys the nation's faith."

Secular country

Indonesia is a secular country with more Muslims than any other in the world, some 190 million. While most practice a moderate form of the faith, fundamentalists have in recent years gained a strong foothold.

Hardliners smashed windows and the door at the magazine's offices in south Jakarta shortly after it launched. The magazine kept publishing, but moved its editorial offices to mostly Hindu Bali island.

This story has been viewed 4084 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top