Prosecutors Request Prison Time for Indonesian Playboy Chief

Steve Javors
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Prosecutors have demanded a judge impose a harsh two-year prison sentence for the editor-in-chief of the Indonesian version of Playboy. Erwin Arnada was charged in June with distributing indecent pictures and profiting from their sale.

More than 100 Muslim protesters attending the hearing thought the prosecution’s demands were too lax. The raucous group chanted “Hang him, hang him” in the courtroom.

In April, the launch of Playboy’s first Indonesian edition, which contained no nude photos, sparked widespread public debate over morality and decency in the largely Muslim nation.

“The pictures selected by the defendant were improper for publication because they violated decency and aroused lust,” prosecutor Resni Muchtar told the court.

While copies of the controversial issue sold on the streets for up to four times the cover price, hard-line Muslim protestors hurled rocks at local Playboy offices in April, prompting the magazine to briefly halt publication.

Subsequently, Playboy’s offices have moved to Bali where there is considerably less Islamic influence. The magazine is still available at newsstands throughout the country, and the government has made no move to ban the publication.

The judge, according to Indonesian laws, heavily weighs the prosecution’s sentencing demands.