Rendezvous: Indonesian singer Nazriel “Ariel” Irham of the group Peterpan (right) hugs his girlfriend Luna Maya in a defendant’s cell prior to the start of his trial at a district court in Bandung, West Java, on Monday. Ariel, who rocked Indonesia after several homemade sex videos found their way to the Internet, was sentenced on Monday to 3.5 years in prison.AP/Achmad IbrahimThe Bandung District Court sentenced Nazriel “Ariel” Irham on Monday to three-and-a-half years in prison and a Rp 250 million (US$27,750) fine for violating the 2008 Pornography Law.
The sentence was lighter than that requested by prosecutors, who had sought five years for the former vocalist of boy band Peterpan.
The panel of judges, presided over by Singgih Budi Prakoso, determined that it was Ariel and his fiancee, Luna Maya, in the sex videos, and their statements to the contrary had only aggravated Ariel’s position as a defendant.
Information technology and forensics experts from the National Police had testified that there were many physical similarities between the people in the sex videos and Ariel, Luna Maya and Cut Tari, who were alleged to have featured in the widely circulated videos. Unlike Ariel and Luna Maya, Cut Tari testified that she was in one of the videos.
“The forensics experts found 14 similar physical traits that matched Ariel, 10 with Luna Maya and 17 with Cut Tari,” Singgih said during the trial, which was attended by Luna Maya and a number of celebrities including Titik Puspa, Camelia Malik, Melly Goeslaw and Ahmad Albar.
Through BlackBerry messages, Luna Maya had denied she was in the videos and attacked another defendant, Peterpan’s music editor Reza “Redjoy” Rizaldy, who was accused of uploading the two videos to the Internet.
“The defendant was very careless and acted recklessly by giving his external hard drive, which contained the sex videos, to Redjoy, without making any effort to erase them, thus giving Redjoy the chance to circulate the videos,” Singgih said.
Redjoy was sentenced to two years in prison and a Rp 250 million fine, whereas prosecutors had sought a four-year sentence.
He was found guilty of keeping the files of both sex videos, which Ariel had transferred to his external hard drive in 2006, and thus providing the opportunity for the videos to be spread on the Internet.
Redjoy’s cousin Anggit copied the files from Redjoy’s personal computer in January of last year and posted them on the Internet in June.
The panel of judges disagreed with Ariel’s legal team, led by O.C. Kaligis, which argued that a person should not be punished for what they did in their personal life.
The judges said that idea was based on United States Supreme Court cases, and could not be used as a basis for court rulings in Indonesia because Indonesia had its own culture, norms, ethics and justice system.
O.C. Kaligis said he was dismayed to see that the judges had been influenced by public pressure when handing down their verdict and said he would appeal the case.
Redjoy’s lawyer Yulius Setianto said he would also appeal, while prosecutor Rusmanto from the Bandung Prosecutor’s Office said he would consider responding to the verdict.
Meanwhile, a clash between Ariel’s supporters and his detractors occurred outside the courthouse. Members of the Islam Defenders Front, the Islamic Reform Movement and other groups affiliated with the West Java Islamic Movement Alliance (API) were involved.
API members, most armed with sticks, were seen chasing a group of people who were trying to block them from accessing an armored police vehicle transporting Ariel through the back entrance of the courthouse to Bandung’s Kebonwaru Prison.
Bandung Police chief Sr. Comr. Jaya Subriyanto said the police had not detained anyone because the incident was merely a misunderstanding.