A Indonesian pop star is on trial for distributing pornography after two sex tapes, said to feature him and two fellow celebrities, leaked online, the BBC is reporting.
Nazril "Ariel" Irham appeared at the closed-door trial in Bandung district court, West Java province, facing criminal charges including those filed under Indonesia's controversial 2008 anti-pornography law, prosecutor Rusmanto told reporters.
According to the AFP, more than 500 officers were on hand outside the courthouse to keep Ariel's legions of adoring fans -- mostly young women, who staged impromptu sing-a-longs of the star's hit songs -- as well as packs of radical Islamists, who carried banners calling for the harshest punishments possible, at bay.
A former lead singer of the pop group Peterpan, Ariel has been detained since June after appearing in the steamy clips along with actress girlfriend Luna Maya and Indonesian television personality Cut Tari. He appeared relaxed in a grey shirt and black trousers as he thanked fans for their support, adding, "I've read the charges. I'm ready to face anything."
According to reports, Ariel's case has divided Indonesians, many of whom say it highlights the stringent nature of Indonesia's anti-pornography laws, enacted in 2008 after considerable debate. "There are so many cases like this...why are they freed and not Ariel? Is it because he's famous?" one fan told AFP. Meanwhile, supporters of the law say they won't rest until the star faces the music. "I want him to be severely punished," said Islamic hardliner Hirman Firdaus, who went on to call the singer a threat to society. "This is immoral."