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Indonesia's Playboy 'not pornography', judge rules

Editor cleared of indecency charges

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The editor of Indonesia's edition of Playboy has been cleared of indecency charges relating to provocative images of scantily-clad models which had the country's Muslims up in arms, the BBC reports.

The first issue of Indonesian PlayboyErwin Arnada and Playmate Kartika Gunawan were cuffed last year over the latter's appearance in Indonesia's first edition of the magazine, in which she "posed in lingerie". So strong was hardline reaction to the outrage that the publishers were forced to move offices from Jakarta to predominantly-Hindu Bali.

The second edition did little to calm the storm, offering "Bali-based French beauty Amar Doriane, whose seductive poses in see-through lingerie make her April predecessor Kartika Gunawan look like a naive schoolgirl", plus a piece on the "the roaring success of pork meatball soup" in Bali and an investigation into the "thriving business of selling locally brewed beer in Yogyakarta".

Gunawan and Arnada faced a possible two years, eight months' jail on the charges. Gunawan defiantly said: "I am not sorry, because every decision I made was well considered. I was not trying to make a sensation, many more people have posed more vulgar than I did."

South Jakarta district court judge Efran Basyuning agreed, ruling the pictures "could not be categorised as pornography". Outside the court, "hundreds of policemen with water cannon were standing by as the trial verdict came" since hardline Islamists "had threatened to 'declare war' on the magazine" were Arnada acquitted.

While protestors were mulling their next move, including a possible appeal against the acquittal, Indonesia's Playboy assured in a statement: "Playboy Indonesia never has and will never publish nude photos or other forbidden materials." ®

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