This Ain’t America: Indonesian Pop Star Gets Jail Time for Sex Tape

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REUTERS / Enny Nuraheni

Indonesian pop singer Nazril "Ariel" Irham sits in a courtroom in West Java, Indonesia, for his final trial over two controversial sex tapes

In the United States, starring in a leaked sex tape will frequently get you a reality television show. In Indonesia, it’ll get you prison.

Nazril Irham (a.k.a. Ariel), the 29-year-old front man of Indonesia’s multiplatinum band Peterpan, was sentenced on Monday to three-and-a-half years behind bars and fined $28,000. The vocalist was found guilty of helping to distribute two home-produced sex videos of fuzzy quality—the first featuring himself and his girlfriend, model-actress Luna Maya, and the second, himself and T.V. celeb Cut Tari. Both went viral last year. According to local media, Irham intends on appealing his sentence.

(Read “Indonesia’s Porn Obsession.”)

A court in West Java’s capital of Bandung ruled that Irham had not done enough to stop the spread of the tapes, violating the Muslim-majority nation’s severe anti-pornography legislation. The law was passed in 2008 after a push from Islamic conservatives—and amid protest from the country’s more liberal-minded. Also sentenced to prison time on Monday was a music editor who received the controversial files on a hard drive in 2006.

(Read “Indonesia’s New Anti-Porn Agenda.”)

The case underscores ongoing tensions between Indonesia’s moderate Muslim base and its rising — and increasingly influential — conservative contingent. Hundreds of Islamic hard-liners stormed the court compound in dissent of the verdict, which they say was overly lenient. (Prosecutors had asked for a five-year jail sentence.) At the same time, Irham supporters and human rights activists rallied against a ruling they say is representative of a radical minority’s growing ability to patrol the country.

The recently democratic nation is still working out what tactic to take when it comes to policing the morality of its citizens. While it figures it out, one of its biggest stars will be languishing in jail. (via CNN)