Stripped of Charges, Ex-Playboy Editor to Walk Free

Sunday, 01 April 2012 12:18
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The Jakarta Globe

Rangga Prakoso, June 23,2011

The jailed former editor in chief of the short-lived Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine will likely walk free today after the Supreme Court overtuned a 2009 decesion to convict him. 

Two years ago, the Supreme Court controversially overturned Erwin Arnada's acquittal and sentenced him him to two years in jail for distributing pictures that offended common decency.

Erwin, who has been detained since October 2010, will likely be freed from Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta this morning.

"Ww have coordinated with the prison, "Masyudi, head of the South Jakarta prosecutors" office, said on Thursday. "The implementattion will be during business hours, possibly during the morning."

He said a copy of the Supreme Court ruling, issued on May 25, was received by his office on Wednesday.

The ruling, which Masyhudi said had come directly from chief Justice Harifin A. Tumpa, stated that the Court had accepted a judicial review and new evidence was admitted to contest the 2009 verdict.

The Court "is acquitting the convict of the charges leveled by the prosecutor," it said.

Masyhudi said there could be no more appeals after a judicial review and that the ruling would be final.

Erwin's lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said previously that the judicial review would present a foreign publisher as a witness to explain that the Indonesian version of Playboy contained no nudity and was fartamer than overseas editions of the magazine.

The controversy, which put the spotlight on press freedom in Indonesia, began even before Playboy Indonesia's first was launched in April 2006.

Thought it did not feature the nudity common in other editions of the magazine, it was still greeted with a spate of vandalism and violent protests by hard-line religious groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).