Rock Star Ariel Stands Trial Over Web Sex Videos

BANDUNG

Rock star Nazril Ariel went on trial on Monday charged with distributing two homemade sex videos on the internet, in a case that has shocked and fascinated the country.

Ariel, 29, appeared at a closed-door trial at the Bandung District Court, West Java province, facing criminal charges including under a 2008 anti-pornography law, prosecutor Rusmanto told reporters.

If convicted he could face 12 years in jail and fines of up to Rp6 billion (US$672,000) for offences including distributing pornography on the internet.

“Ariel helped to provide facilities to distribute the pornographic videos,” Rusmanto said.

Ariel surrendered to police on June 22 amid a media circus over the explicit videos, which showed him having sex separately with two television celebrities, Luna Maya, 27, and Cut Tari, 33.

Neither Maya nor Tari has been charged with any offence, although Islamist hardliners have called for Tari — who is married — to be stoned to death for adultery.

The clips were viewed by hundreds of thousands of people online and sparked fears about a wave of licentiousness and immorality spreading among the mainly Muslim country’s youths through the internet.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, an ex-general aged 61, was moved to warn that the nation of 240 million people was at risk of being “crushed by the information-technology frenzy.”

Dubbed “Peterporn” after Ariel’s band Peterpan, the scandal also fuelled efforts to purge the internet of pornography.

Web usage has taken off among Indonesia’s upwardly mobile urban youth, who have come from nowhere to rank among the world’s biggest users of social media sites over the past five years.

The trial is taking place in closed hearings to protect the public from the “inappropriate” sexual nature of the subject matter, according to the judge.

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