Friday, June 24, 2011

Former Playboy Indonesia editor freed from prison

Erwin Arnada, former editor of Playboy Indonesia, shows his release letter upon his release from Cipinang prison in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, June 24, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP

JAKARTA - PLAYBOY Indonesia's former editor was released from prison on Friday after the country's top court overturned his indecency conviction for publishing pictures of scantily clad women.

The long-running case has highlighted the growing militancy of a vocal fringe wanting Islamic-based laws implemented in Indonesia, a moderate democracy that is the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Erwin Arnada, 48, who had been editor of the now-defunct magazine, was serving a two-year prison sentence after a protracted legal battle that began in 2006 and saw him imprisoned last October when a lower court's acquittal was overturned.

'This is part of the history of the struggle for freedom of the press,' Arnada said as he left Cipinang prison in Jakarta on Friday afternoon wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Journalism is not a crime.'

His lawyer Heriyanto Yang said a judicial review panel of the Supreme Court decided late last month to reverse the court's own earlier conviction. Bureaucratic delays in such decisions being announced are not uncommon in Indonesia.

When Playboy Indonesia hit newsstands in 2006, members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front attacked its editorial offices and filed a criminal complaint against Arnada. The trial, however, angered free speech activists and Indonesia's Press Council defended the magazine saying it did not contain pornography or violate media laws. -- AP

No comments: