Pop star jailed over home-made sex tapes

An Indonesian pop star who rocked the predominantly Muslim nation after several home-made sex tapes found their way to the internet was sentenced today to three and a half years in jail.

Nazril "Ariel" Irham's trial has made headlines and dominated chatter on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for more than three months.

Fans insist he did nothing wrong, making the tapes in the privacy of his own home.

But Islamic hard-liners warned that his actions had contributed to the country's moral decline.

The 29-year-old singer - who said the videos were stolen and posted online without his knowledge - was the first celebrity to be found guilty of violating the country's strict anti-pornography law that went into effect in 2008.

Presiding Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso said the star made the videos with two celebrity girlfriends and did nothing to prevent their wide distribution.

He sentenced him to three and a half years in jail - well short of the maximum 12, angering hundreds of protesters who gathered outside - and fined him 25,000 US dollars.

"As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behavior," Judge Prakoso said, adding that Ariel, lead singer of the group, Peterpan, also showed no remorse.

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 - like the anti-porn bill - and attacked anything they perceive as blasphemous, from transvestites and bars to 'deviant' religious sects.

Some of the demonstrators who turned out pelted the police vehicle carrying Ariel to the court with rotten eggs and tomatoes. Others held placards criticising the star.

"I have three daughters," said Kurnia Maryati, a 33-year-old pharmacist, as she straightened out her headscarf.

"To me, pornography is even more dangerous than drugs. Just think of the school boys watching those videos," she said. "Next thing you know, they'll be imagining their female teachers naked!"

The videos were made public in June.

The first six-minute clip showed Ariel in bed with his girlfriend Luna Maya, a top model, actress and, until the scandal, the face of Lux beauty soap.

The second clip showed him with a former girlfriend, also a well-liked model and television presenter.