September 30, 2010
Dear President Yudhoyono:
We are greatly concerned about the case of Erwin Arnada, the editor of Indonesia’s defunct version of Playboy magazine, who was sentenced to two years in prison for indecency by the Supreme Court. The court tried the case on an appeal from the attorney general’s office in July 2009 and some time after that sentenced Arnada to two years in prison for public indecency for publishing purportedly indecent pictures in a 2006 issue of the magazine. The magazine closed in mid-2007 after printing 10 issues.
The South Jakarta District Court had cleared Arnada of all charges in 2007. Judge Efran Basuning, who heard the case, said the photographs presented at the trial could not be categorized as pornography. The Jakarta High Court also cleared him of all charges.
We are concerned that Arnada will be jailed on October 5 while his lawyer files an appeal with the Supreme Court. Putting him in prison during that review period is harsh and unnecessary. Arnada has cooperated with authorities since the time that the court’s initial decision in his case was made public; he has not left the country. His lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, has repeatedly stated publicly that Arnada has no intention of fleeing.
We call on you to ensure that Arnada be allowed to avoid detention on his own recognizance while awaiting the court’s review, and we ask the court to overturn this politically motivated ruling on appeal. This criminalization of free express must not stand.
We look forward to your reply.