Prosecutors were searching for the former editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia today after he was sentenced to two years in prison for publishing pictures of scantily-clothed women.
Erwin Arnada was acquitted by the South Jakarta District Court in April 2007, with judges arguing the photos in the magazine could not be categorised as pornography under the country’s criminal code.
The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which issued a guilty verdict in 2009 but only informed the prosecutors on Wednesday. It was not clear why.
“I only learned about it myself yesterday,” said a chief prosecutor, adding that he was searching for the former editor so he could lead him to jail.
“I don’t know the reason for the delay or why, until now, he’s still a free man.”
Indonesia, a secular nation with more Muslims than any other in the world, has a vibrant free press and a long history of tolerance, though a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front – which brought the case against Arnada - stormed Playboy’s offices in south Jakarta soon after a toned-down version of the American magazine hit news stands in 2006.
The magazine has since stopped publishing.
“Why isn’t Arnada in jail?” one of the Front’s lawyers asked. “It’s ridiculous that we are only hearing about this now ... It’s like they wanted to hide the case from us.”
Neither Arnada nor officials from the Supreme Court could be contacted today for comment.