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.