Trial Opens for Playboy Indonesia Editor

The editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia went on trial Thursday on charges of publishing indecent material — a crime that carries a maximum punishment of more than 2 1/2 years in prison.

A prosecutor told the South Jakarta District Court that Erwin Arnada oversaw photo shoots and published revealing pictures of female models in underwear, some showing partially exposed breasts.

"The models also had inviting expressions on their faces," said Resni Muchtar, adding that the magazine included lascivious and lustful comments.

The defense, which was not required to enter a plea, said it would respond to the charge at a later hearing.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, with some 190 million practicing a mostly moderate form of the faith.

Playboy launched a toned-down version of its magazine in the country in April to protests from conservatives demanding it be taken off the streets. The magazine kept publishing, but moved its editorial offices to mostly Hindu Bali island.

Unlike its American version and editions in dozens of other countries, Indonesian Playboy contains no nudity.

The trial was adjourned until Dec. 14, when witnesses will be called.

Arnada said after the hearing that "as a good citizen he would follow the legal process accordingly."

Tabloids in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, feature more explicit photos and stories that Playboy's. And pornographic films on video, though illegal, are sold more or less openly at stores across the country.

Indonesian versions of Western magazines FHM and Maxim, which also contain photos of women in underwear, have been on sale for several years with no outcry like that over Playboy, seen as an icon of American cultural influence.