Free Erwin Arnada !

This letter has been published in the following international media.
Please write in for Press Freedom, Now!!!

CPJ.ORG – Committee to Protect Journalists

FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION

BOSTON HERALD

THE JAKARTA POST

SCALLYWAG AND VAGABOND

ALL VOICES

TRUTHDIG

To the Honourable Justices
Supreme Court of Indonesia

Your Honours,

I respectfully present my unsolicited objections to the conviction of Erwin Arnada, ex –editor in Chief of Playboy Indonesia. Your judgment – incarcerating him for two years for the crime of publishing photographs of ‘scantily’ clad women in the edition of Playboy Indonesia is an aberration of justice. Sadly the honourable court has succumbed to the power of warped religious hardliners and interpreted the Law of the Land selectively to appease those who seek to drag the modern state of Indonesia back to the medieval age.

Erwin Arnada did not commit a crime that many other ‘glossies’ haven’t done…depict women in little or nothing. Walk down some streets of Jakarta and you can buy publications that are smutty and blatantly sexual…one well known publication had even printed detailed illustrations of sexual positions. Further, if Erwin is guilty of printing ‘indecent’ photographs then you would have to jail most of the people in Bali. Why just those from Jakarta? Is it because the hardliners cannot influence the Balinese?

Your Honours, I present my defense of Erwin Arnada, a victim of blinkered justice.

There is  evidence that the Pornography Law has been applied.  If this is so then those associated with  glossies, advertising, massage parlours and even tourists on the beaches of Bali could be  jailed for indecency using your judgment as a yardstick.

The independent judiciary has been subject to influence by hardliners who have become the self appointed guardians of morality. They (hardliners) have subverted justice by claiming that the icon of American culture, Playboy, was harmful to the ‘morals’ of the Muslim population of Indonesia. This is pathetic and downright absurd. One has only to view the glossies in Bali, the TV programs and more to know that the hardliners objections have no Locus Standi.

Erwin’s version of Playboy was not immoral nor was it XXX.

Indonesia has struggled to shrug off its Dark and turbulent Past and has emerged as a vibrant, modern and progressive State – a Republic that has the largest Muslim population in the world under the dynamic leadership of President Dr. H.  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This is  a miracle. Unfortunately, your ruling has given the impression that Muslim hardliners control Indonesia and that their diktat rules supreme in Java but thankfully not in Bali!

If Erwin had been Balinese and had published Playboy from Bali, I wonder what the hardliners would have done.

In Bali, old black and white photographs of topless Balinese women are sold. One can purchase coffee table art books with these pictures taken many decades  ago; Beautiful, haunting and indicative of a vibrant ethos. My question is – Do we convict the photographers, sellers, publishers and seize all this material? Why not? If we can convict Erwin Arnada for the crime of showing scantily clad females then the aforementioned ‘offenders’ should be given life sentences as per the views of the lobotomized hardliners.

For me and many other friends of Indonesia this is truly a sad day when we have to witness justice dispensed selectively. It is a message to the world that the Republic of Indonesia is under threat from hardliners where free speech is subject to their interpretation and that freethinkers in Indonesia now live under this Sword of Damocles.

On the eve of the visit of The President of the United States of America, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama II, to Indonesia, this judgment will most likely give the world the impression that the country is slipping back into the Dark Ages.

And who do we blame for this?

On behalf of the freethinkers in Indonesia and elsewhere I appeal to your true sense of justice – FREE Erwin Arnada ex-Editor in Chief of Playboy, Indonesia – And show the world that Indonesia has an independent and liberal judiciary.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

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