One of Indonesia's best-known pop stars was sentenced Monday to 3 1/2 years behind bars after sex tapes with his celebrity girlfriends found their way to the Internet, riveting and dividing this predominantly Muslim nation.
Liberals said the embarrassment suffered by Nazril "Ariel" Irham — who insists the videos were not intended for public viewing — was punishment enough. But hard-liners were outraged, saying the singer was contributing to the country's moral decline.
Ariel insists the tapes were stolen from his house and posted online without his knowledge, but presiding Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso said the pop star did nothing to prevent their widespread distribution.
"As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behavior," Prakoso said, adding that the frontman for Peterpan — which is also popular in neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei — did not show remorse.
"He's just a victim," said Roslawati, 30, as tears streamed from his eyes. "He didn't post that video."
Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other country in the world. Though most are moderate, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.
They have pushed through controversial laws — including the anti-porn bill — and been known to attack anything perceived as blasphemous, from transvestites and bars to "deviant" religious sects.
The first six-minute clip purportedly showed Ariel in bed with his girlfriend, Luna Maya, a top model and actress who joined him at the court Monday. She broke down in tears when the ruling was read out.
The second clip showed him with a former girlfriend, also a well-liked model and television presenter, Cut Tari.
The clips were spread on Facebook and YouTube and distributed by mobile phone rapidly, prompting the government to try to impose a so-far unsuccessful online filter for porn.
But the man who admitted to posting the tapes on the Internet was sentenced Monday in a separate trial to two years in jail.
I know most of you won't know who he is, but it's interesting how something that made Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian famous in America, is landing someone else in jail.