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article imageIndonesia: Former Playboy editor to be arrested soon

By Subir Ghosh     Oct 7, 2010 in World
An arrest warrant has been issued against the former editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia, Erwin Arnada, after he failed to surrender himself to court on Thursday. Arnada has been sentenced to jail for violating the Islamic nation's indecency laws.
The chief of the prosecutor’s office in South Jakarta, Muhammad Yusuf, told the Jakarta Post that they had given Erwin enough chances to give himself up. “We had been waiting for him since 10 a.m. But till 4.30 p.m. when our office closes, he had not surrendered voluntarily. Therefore, we issued the arrest warrant,” Yusuf said.
Indonesia's Supreme Court had in August found Arnada guilty of violating the predominantly Muslim nation's indecency laws, overruling an earlier acquittal. He was sentenced to two years behind bars, following which he went into hiding.
The court tried the case on an appeal from the attorney-general's office in July 2009 and some time after that sentenced him for public indecency by way of publishing purportedly indecent pictures in a 2006 issue of the magazine.
After a highly-publicised launch in April 2006, the magazine became the target of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI. Threats were issued to booksores, magazine vendors, hotels and the editor himself in the run-up to the launch. Indonesia's version of Playboy contained photos of scantily-clad women, including models in lingerie, but most pictures were no more revealing than pin-ups in the country's popular tabloid newspapers.
Following threats, Playboy Indonesia relocated to the predominantly Hindu island of Bali from its Jakarta office. FPI leader Ahmad Shobri Lubis had admitted to the New York Times that Playboy Indonesia's photographs were less revealing than those printed in many other Indonesian publications. The magazine closed in mid-2007 after printing 10 issues.
An Indonesian court had in April 2007 cleared Playboy Indonesia s editor-in-chief of distributing in...
An Indonesian court had in April 2007 cleared Playboy Indonesia's editor-in-chief of distributing indecent pictures to the public and making money from them after a high-profile trial that exposed deep divisions in the Muslim-majority nation. The case was resurrected later, and Erwin Arnada was sentenced to two years in prison.
Playboy Indonesia
In April 2007, a district court in South Jakarta had acquitted Arnada of publishing indecent material. It had said that pictures of scantily-clad women "could not be categorised as pornography". The judge had also ruled that any charges against the editor should have been made under the 1999 Press Law instead of the Penal Code. The case was later resurrected, and Arnada sentenced to prison.
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 been pushing hard to impose strict Islamic law. Hardcore pornographic videos and magazines also are widely available here so the Islamists' focus on much tamer Playboy suggested to many that it was singled out as a symbol of what hardliners consider Western pollution of Islamic morals. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) believes that Arnada's prosecution was politically motivated.
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