Indonesia Playboy Trial Is Closed to Public; Protesters Make Threats

Rhett Pardon
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Havoc broke out Thursday after a judge closed to the public the trial of Playboy Indonesia's editor-in-chief, who faces indecency charges.

Under Indonesian law, indecency trials are closed when witness testimony is being heard to avoid obscene material or discussions being made public.

Nearly three dozen Islamic protesters chanted "God is great" outside the South Jakarta District Courthouse, trying to force their way into the courtroom before court officials intervened. They threatened to bust the doors open if they weren’t granted access to the proceedings.

With the court’s closure, the protesters accused the judge of being partial toward Playboy, which they said had "destroyed the morals of the nation."

Playboy Indonesia Editor-in-chief Erwin Arnada went on trial three weeks ago on indecency charges, facing 32 months in prison if convicted.

Playboy Indonesia launched in April but contains no nudity.

In contrast, adult videos, though illegal, are sold openly at stores across the country and some magazines are more sexually explicit than Playboy.

Prosecutors say Arnada oversaw photo shoots and selected revealing pictures of female models in underwear, some showing partially exposed breasts.