Liberals said the embarrassment suffered by Nazril “Ariel” Irham – who insists the videos were not intended for public viewing – was punishment enough. But hard-liners were outraged, saying the singer was contributing to the country’s moral decline.
Hundreds charged the gates of the courthouse in the city of Bandung after the verdict was read out, yelling “Too light! Too light,” as he sped off in an armored police car.
Ariel, lead singer of the country’s most popular band, Peterpan, was the first celebrity to be charged under Indonesia’s strict anti-pornography law, which came into effect in 2008 despite strong opposition from the public and members of government.
It is seen by many as vaguely worded and as carrying overly harsh penalties.
Ariel insists the tapes were stolen from his house and posted online without his knowledge, but presiding Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso said the pop star did nothing to prevent their widespread distribution.
He sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in jail – well short of the maximum 12 years – and slapped him with a $25,000 fine.
“As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behavior,” Prakoso said, adding that the frontman for Peterpan – which is also popular in neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei – did not show remorse.
His supporters were devastated.