Indonesian pop star jailed after sex tapes are posted online

One of Indonesia's best-known pop stars was sentenced yesterday to three and a half 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 hardliners were outraged, saying the singer was contributing to the country's moral decline.

Hundreds charged the gates of the courthouse in the city of Bandung after the verdict was read out. They yelled "too light, too light", as he sped off in an armoured police car.

Ariel, the lead singer of the country's most popular band, Peterpan, was the first celebrity to be charged under Indonesia's strict anti-pornography law, which came into effect in 2008 despite strong opposition from the public and members of government. The law is seen by many as vaguely worded and as carrying overly harsh penalties.

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 them from being distributed widely.

The judge sentenced Ariel to three and a half years in jail – well short of the maximum 12 years – and slapped him with a $25,000 (£16,000) fine.

"As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behaviour," Judge Prakoso said, adding that the frontman for Peterpan – which is also popular in neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei – did not show remorse.

His supporters were devastated. "He's just a victim," a man named Roslawati, 30, said as tears streamed down his face. "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. The group has 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.

More than 500 demonstrators turned out yesterday, some pelting the police vehicle carrying Ariel to the courthouse with rotten eggs and tomatoes. Others held placards criticising the star. When the verdict was read out, they rushed to the courthouse, rattled the gates and briefly scuffled with the singer's supporters. Police fired warning shots to break up the crowds.

"More years for Ariel!" shouted Kurnia Maryati, 33, who has three children and was wearing an Islamic headscarf.

The videos were made public in June. 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 yesterday. She broke down in tears when the ruling was read out. The second clip showed him with a former girlfriend, Cut Tari, who is also a well-liked model and television presenter.

The clips were posted on Facebook and YouTube and rapidly distributed by mobile phone, prompting the government to try to impose an as yet unsuccessful online filter to prevent porn from being accessed. It is not yet clear if the women in the videos will also be punished.

The man who admitted to posting the tapes on the internet was sentenced yesterday in a separate trial to two years in jail.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
Pistorius leaves Pretoria High Court to be taken to prison
news

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Vendor Services Manager (IT) - Central London

£50000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Vendor Services Manager (...

C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, MSSQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

English Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - So...

French Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: French Teacher ? Sou...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album