National

4 exotic dancers to be
prosecuted in Indonesia

Indonesian authorities will prosecute four exotic dancers arrested at clubs on New Year's Eve for allegedly violating a new anti-pornography law, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

The female dancers and two male club managers were detained in Bandung, a city southeast of the capital, Jakarta, said West Java provincial police spokesman Col. Dade Ahmad. They appeared to have been preparing for a striptease and "were wearing sexy clothing," Ahmad said, when the police raided the Bellair Cafe and the Music Lounge after midnight.

Indonesia's 2008 anti-pornography law was pushed through parliament by conservative Muslim parties, but opposed by rights groups that argue it criminalizes traditional dance and art, particularly in far flung provinces where partial nudity is culturally accepted.

Police confiscated skimpy underwear and nearly $200 in cash believed to have been from tips, Ahmad said, adding that they could be sentenced to prison terms of five to 10 years if convicted.

Ahmad said the six will be the first people prosecuted under the law in Bandung, where the mayor recently announced a crackdown on behavior considered un-Islamic. It is unclear if it has been applied elsewhere in the country.

Bandung Mayor Dada Rosada told reporters Wednesday he was also considering revoking the cafes' operating permits.

Ninety percent of Indonesia's 235 million citizens are Muslim, most practicing a moderate form of the faith. But many of its islands have large Christian and Hindu populations and some women in tribal regions, like Papua, still go topless.

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