An Indonesian pop star has been
jailed for three years after sex tapes featuring him and his celebrity
girlfriends were published on the internet.
Nazril “Ariel” Irham was
jailed for 36 months and fined more than $27, provoking tears from his
supporters and outrage from Islamic hardliners who demanded a harsher sentence.
Outside the hearing, teenage female
fans wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the word “freedom” gathered in
support of the pop icon.
Also present were Islamic
demonstrators who said the jailing – under a controversial anti-pornography law
passed in 2008 – was not sufficient punishment.
The lead singer of the country’s
most popular band, Peterpan, Irham became the first celebrity to be
arrested under the new law after footage emerged in June last year.
The first clip showed him in bed
with his girlfriend, Luna Maya, a model and actress who broke down in tears in
court when the ruling was read out.
A second sequence showed him with a
former girlfriend, also a well-liked model and television presenter, Cut Tari.
The videos spread like wildfire via
Facebook, YouTube and mobile phone, prompting the government to try to impose
an online filter for porn – so far without much success.
Irham insists the tapes were stolen
from his house and posted without his knowledge, but presiding Judge Singgih
Budi Prakoso said the 30-year-old star had done nothing to prevent them from
Observers say the trial cast a
spotlight on the divisions between the youth of the country, who are against
internet censorship, and conservative hardliners.
Indonesia, a secular country of 237
million people, has more Muslims than any other country in the world.
Though most are moderate, a small
extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.