21 October 2010
The Distribution of Pornography -- The Case Against Ariel...
The charges relate exclusively to the distribution of the videos themselves. Nevertheless, it may be argued that the use of the 1951 Emergency Law is intended as a "catch-all" charge that will allow prosecutors to take the moral route and claim that Ariel has violated some existing customary or traditional law that applies in Indonesia.
So far, only Ariel and Cut Tari have been charged. The most controversy over this relates to the use of Law No. 1 of 1951. The Emergency Law was clearly not drafted for this purpose. Contextually the 1951 Law relates to a period of Indonesian history where it was experimenting with its unique form of Sukarno-ist constitutional democracy and trying to untangle itself from myriad of Dutch created laws and norms and replace them with some of their own.
Funnily enough, in 2010 it could still be argued that the process is an ongoing one! Luna Maya, the other amateur porn star involved in these tapes has so far evaded charge. She used to star in an advertisement for Lux soap, perhaps there is a pun to be had here in relation to her ability to keep herself clean of charges.
So, what is Ariel really looking at here. The main charge relates to Article 29 of the Anti-Pornography Law (and for some reason the similar provision under the Information and Electronic Transactions Law), Article 56 of the Criminal Code and Article 5(3) of the 1951 Emergency Law.
The Anti-Porn law provides for a 16-year jail sentence for the distribution of pornographic material. Whereas the ITE law only allows for a 6-year sentence. This is standard prosecutorial procedure in a case where one is not so sure of what crime has been committed, so charge the same offense in myriad of ways ranging from the most serious to the least serious and with a bit of luck maybe one of them will stick somewhere along the line.
What is interesting about this case, aside from the stupidity of pursuing it, is that the police still have not been able to establish an accurate timeline of the event relating to the videos, particularly when the Cut Tari video was filmed. The police have also seemingly not been able to nail down exactly where it was shot either. Strangely enough there is some discussion that the video may have been shot in 2005, or perhaps 2006, or maybe even as recently as 2010...Ouch!
Oh well. Back to Ariel and his dilemma or lack thereof with the current charges. The primary charge seems to be that he was actively involved with the distribution of the videos. The police are apparently basing their entire case on the testimony of one man, Redjoy or Reza. Redjoy has piped up that he received the tapes in the form of computer files with the express instruction to prepare them for upload to the internet. According to Redjoy's testimony, these files were provided by Capung Studio. Capung Studio happens to be the studio that Ariel owns in Bandung. What seems to be missing from most reports on this transaction is whether it was Ariel himself that handed the files over to Redjoy.
This is going to quickly degenerate into a he said vs. he said scenario. Ariel, despite Cut Tari's admission to the contrary, has yet to acknowledge that it was him in the video. However, that aside, it has been consistently argued by the alleged amateur porn stars that they were the victim of a crime themselves, theft. And, it was this theft that saw the files wend their way online. Now, it would seem that if Redjoy was involved in the theft then it would make sense to start claiming that no theft happened but rather the files came into his possession through Ariel, or someone linked to Ariel, for the purpose of uploading the files for the enjoyment of the world over.
The trial seems destined to proceed. It would be a real turnaround for the prosecutors to fold on this case now. The trial will be in West Java, Bandung to be precise, so their should be a steady stream of infotainment journalists making their way to Bandung.
This is going to be messy.