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Indonesian smut vid star's arse hauled into court

Entire body facing 12 years' jail on porn rap

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The trial of Indonesian pop star Nazril "Ariel" Irham has got off to a lively start in Bandung as 500 fans gathered outside the courtroom to support their idol. Irham faces charges of breaching the country's anti-pornography laws.

The pop star, who has been in custody since June, faces a possible 12 years in jail if convicted, the BBC reports.

The 29-year-old celebrity is accused of participating in two homemade porn videos. The offending material - featuring his TV presenter girlfriend Luna Maya and soap actress Cut Tari* - quickly became an net sensation in his predominantly Muslim native land.

The scandal has provided Islamic hardliners with an opportunity to call for tighter control of the internet.

When Irham's romps first hit the interwebs, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, of the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party, saw an opportunity to clamp down on access to "morally suspect" sites.

He said: "We want to minimise the negative impact from the internet as it will destroy this nation."

Irham was accompanied to court by grumble flick co-star Maya. Neither she nor Tari have been charged for their part in the outrage, and all three have denied performing for the cameras in the first place.

Quite how the trial pans out remains to be seen. Back in 2006, the first Indonesian edition of Playboy caused a bit of a rumpus among the country's Muslim population for showcasing Playmate Kartika Gunawan in her underwear.

Gunawan and editor-in-chief Erwin Arnada were cuffed on a charge of decency violation, although a Jakarta judge subsequently ruled that Gunawan's lingerie shoot was not pornography.

Since then, however, Indonesia has brought into force a "stringent" anti-pornography law, "enacted in 2008 after considerable debate", the BBC explains.®

Boonote

* Not in the same video, we're relieved to report.

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