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article imageEditor enters jail for pics in Playboy Indonesia

By Subir Ghosh     Oct 9, 2010 in World
The former editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia Erwin Arnada has surrendered. His lawyer said Arnada complied with the law on Saturday and turned up at the prosecutor’s office. He has been convicted for violating the Islamic nation's indecency laws.
“He was not taken to the prosecutor’s office by use of force. He would not escape, but he gave up himself,” Todung Mulya Lubis was quoted by Jakarta Post as saying. When asked why the journalist did not surrender earlier, Todung said his client needed time to complete his motion for a case review. “The motion is done, therefore we are here,” he said.
The last of the summonses had expired on Friday and the prosecutor had issued an arrest warrant in his name. Arnada has begun his two-year prison term for violating the Islamic nation's indecency laws.
"I’ve been treated like a criminal, put in a prison car. I don’t yet believe there’s democracy in Indonesia; at least my case makes me think that,” he said. “If there was democracy in Indonesia, then freedom of the press would be guaranteed and valued. The press and journalists shouldn’t be criminalised as I have," Arnada said over his Blackberry after being taken into custody by dozens of police on arrival from Bali to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport, according to the New York Times.
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.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had descibed his conviction as politically motivated.
"This sets a bad precedent for freedom of expression," rights activist Haris Azhar was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. He described it as a throwback to the dictatorship of Suharto. "He's not a criminal," Azhar said. "Look at the pictures ... the magazine was adapted so as not to offend our culture."
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.
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