05 February 2011
Ariel, Three & A Half Years, and an Appeal?
The evidence that was adduced in court and that which was played out in the court of public opinion must have been two very different animals. The reality is that what we know of this case in the public domain is more than enough to suggest that there is sufficient doubt as to whether Ariel had any role in distributing the two sex tapes of him to the public via the internet.
It is pretty obvious that what most people can agree on is that Ariel was the star of, and in, the sex tapes. Admittedly, most others would agree that his fellow cast members were pretty good too. I wonder whether there are any copies of "Ariel does Luna" and "Ariel does Cut Tari" doing the rounds of Glodok, Ratu Plaza or the lane ways of Blok M?
An appeal in this case seems destined to be run by a different set of lawyers. Luna Maya has engaged Taufik Basari to take over from OC Kaligis as her lawyer. Whether Ariel is going to follow suit remains to be seen, but the practice of lawyer shopping through an appeals process is nothing new. Basari is a good lawyer with a solid background with legal aid. But, I am gonna take a stab in the dark and say that he is probably not doing this one pro bono :)
The decision to sentence Ariel to 3.5 years and fine him IDR 250 million is justice gone awry There is simply no justice in sending a young man to prison for making a sex tape. I appreciate that different people have divergent moral views as to what is right and wrong with sex and pornography among consenting adults. However, despite those personal convictions, it seems hard to fathom exactly how the judges reached a conclusion that the prosecution had proved its case. Hopefully, a copy of the legal judgment that highlights the legal reasoning will be forthcoming in the public arena.
Nevertheless, there are those who feel that 3.5 years is insufficient. It goes without saying that the FPI and other hardline Muslim groups are still arguing for the death penalty. Yet, it is interesting to be able to lump the Indonesian Commission for the Protection of Children into the group that believes Ariel escaped with a sentence that was far too lenient. Maria Advianti of the KPAI argues that KPAI data highlights in the period after the Ariel sex tapes were released that there was a spike in child rape offenses by children on children as a result of having watched the Ariel sex tape. The data on that must be made publicly available and be subject to some scrutiny.
Interestingly, the sentence handed down to Redjoy or RJ was for 2.5 years. This is interesting because bothe were in essence accused of the same crime, distribution. Why is it that Ariel gets 3.5 years and RJ only 2.5? Is it that the judges are punishing Ariel more severely because his role in the distribution was bigger? Or is it that the courts and judges in this instance have decided that Ariel as a public figure has a higher level of guilt or responsibility to behave in a certain way because he is popular? And, therefore based on this he should be punished more severely in order to set an example to other celebrities? Or is it that the judges have punished him for making the sex tape in the first place because their collective conscience demands it?
As they say,"it is not over till it is over". I would suggest that this case still has legs and is likely to go a long time on appeal. Hopefully, the appeal courts will see some common sense and not fold in the face of forceful ultra-conservative religious voices from the public domain and affirm the sentence. Instead, it is hoped that the courts seek to apply the law in accordance with the relevant burdens required. The prosecutors must prove that Ariel was involved and evidence to date in the public domain has not met that burden.
A final point. So, where do the cases of Luna Maya and Cut Tari go from here? If the prosecutor was able to convince the court that Ariel's failure to prevent the distribution of the sex tapes was sufficient for a conviction that maintains Ariel was actively involved, then surely the prosecutors must be thinking that this decision gives their cases against Luna Maya and Cut Tari some additional legs.
It would be a rather spectacular fall from grace for Luna Maya and Cut Tari to end up in the big house (aka jail).