Playboy Editor Starts Serving Jail Sentence

Playboy Editor Starts Serving Jail Sentence


The former editor of the Indonesian edition of the American men’s magazine Playboy began serving a two-year prison sentence in Jakarta this week after being on the run in Bali.

Erwin Arnada, who was sentenced by the Supreme Court in August to serve two years in jail for indecency despite a lack of nudity in the publication, was arrested in Bali at the weekend after ignoring three orders to surrender.

Arnada’s lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said he would lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court this week.

“For me the sentence for Erwin is something that is not considered a crime in other countries,” Lubis told reporters.

“I’m disappointed that Erwin has been treated like a terrorist. As a matter of fact he is just a regular journalist. This is actually a case of press freedom.”

Arnada said he was glad to have a lawyer to help with the appeal.

“Since April 2006 I’ve been following the rules as a good citizen,” Arnada told reporters at the prosecutor’s office in Jakarta.

The case is seen as showing the increasing influence of Islamist extremists, who launched violent protests against the magazine — forcing management to relocate their office from Jakarta to Bali — when it appeared in 2006 and pushed the Supreme Court to overturn the editor’s earlier acquittal.

The Islamic Defenders Front or FPI, known for its armed attacks on minorities and moderates, has condemned Arnada as a “moral terrorist” and ordered its militants to track him down.

The magazine published only a few issues, none of which contained nudity, before Islamic hardliners forced it to close in 2006.


  1. Tim says:

    Have never read Playboy and have no interest to do so but it looks like this mans freedom has been taken to pacify extremists.

    Let them go leave in Saudi (where they would be treated as 3rd Class people by the way)

  2. Mark Ulyseas says:

    To the Honourable Justices
    Supreme Court of Indonesia

    Your Honours,

    I respectfully present my unsolicited objections to the conviction of Erwin Arnada, ex –editor in Chief of Playboy Indonesia. Your judgment – incarcerating him for two years for the crime of publishing photographs of ‘scantily’ clad women in the edition of Playboy Indonesia is an aberration of justice. Sadly the honourable court has succumbed to the power of warped religious hardliners and interpreted the Law of the Land selectively to appease those who seek to drag the modern state of Indonesia back to the medieval age.

    Erwin Arnada did not commit a crime that many other ‘glossies’ haven’t done…depict women in little or nothing. Walk down some streets of Jakarta and you can buy publications that are smutty and blatantly sexual…one well known publication had even printed detailed illustrations of sexual positions. Further, if Erwin is guilty of printing ‘indecent’ photographs then you would have to jail most of the people in Bali. Why just those from Jakarta? Is it because the hardliners cannot influence the Balinese?

    Your Honours, I present my defense of Erwin Arnada, a victim of blinkered justice.

    There is evidence that the Pornography Law has been applied. If this is so then those associated with glossies, advertising, massage parlours and even tourists on the beaches of Bali could jailed for indecency using your judgment as a yardstick.

    The independent judiciary has been subject to influence by hardliners who have become the self appointed guardians of morality. They (hardliners) have subverted justice by claiming that the icon of American culture, Playboy, was harmful to the ‘morals’ of the Muslim population of Indonesia. This is pathetic and downright absurd. One has only to view the glossies in Bali, the TV programs and more to know that the hardliners objections have no Locus Standi.

    Erwin’s version of Playboy was not immoral nor was it XXX.

    Indonesia has struggled to shrug off its Dark and turbulent Past and has emerged as a vibrant, modern and progressive State – a Republic that has the largest Muslim population in the world under the dynamic leadership of President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This is a miracle. Unfortunately, your ruling has given the impression that Muslim hardliners control Indonesia and that their diktat rules supreme in Java but thankfully not in Bali!

    If Erwin had been Balinese and had published Playboy from Bali, I wonder what the hardliners would have done.

    In Bali, old black and white photographs of topless Balinese women are sold. One can purchase coffee table art books with these pictures taken many decades ago; Beautiful, haunting and indicative of a vibrant ethos. My question is – Do we convict the photographers, sellers, publishers and seize all this material? Why not? If we can convict Erwin Arnada for the crime of showing scantily clad females then the aforementioned ‘offenders’ should be given life sentences as per the views of the lobotomized hardliners.

    For me and many other friends of Indonesia this is truly a sad day when we have to witness justice dispensed selectively. It is a message to the world that the Republic of Indonesia is under threat from hardliners where free speech is subject to their interpretation and that freethinkers in Indonesia now live under this Sword of Damocles.

    On the eve of the visit of The President of the United States of America, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama II, to Indonesia, this judgment will most likely give the world the impression that the country is slipping back into the Dark Ages.

    And who do we blame for this?

    On behalf of the freethinkers in Indonesia and elsewhere I appeal to your true sense of justice – FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor in Chief of Playboy, Indonesia – And show the world that Indonesia has an independent and liberal judiciary.

    Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

  3. Kelly says:

    Playboy Indonesia had no nude photo’s and was not trashy. This is a joke, the dancing girls, cewek cafe’s and prostitutes on the street are far more degrading to women then that magazine and yet the police do nothing at all.
    Don’t the islamic defenders have anything better to do like help their poor or educate that terriorim is not part of Islam.

  4. Ant K says:

    Islamic Defenders Front have condemned him as a “moral terrorist”. By whose standards? The real moral terrorists are the bribe takers in high places, the fundamentalist bombers who unilaterally decide when they will murder innocent people. To sentence a journalist to a prison sentence for publishing innocuous photos is ridiculous in the extreme. If one is offended by alcohol, don’t drink it or buy it. But jail the brewer? If one is offended by Playboy, don’t buy it or read it. Don’t jail the publisher. Simple

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