June 22, 2010 / 8:24 AM / in 7 years

Indonesia police to detain pop star over sex clips

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police said on Tuesday they will detain a pop star suspected of breaching the country’s controversial pornography law by allegedly appearing on widely circulated home-made sex videos.

<p>Indonesian television star Luna Maya sits inside her car after a questioning session at police headquarters in Jakarta June 18, 2010, over the release of video clips appearing to show her and her boyfriend, pop singer Nazril "Ariel" Irham, having sex. The clips have sparked renewed calls for tighter Internet controls in majority-Muslim Indonesia and more use of a controversial anti-pornography law. The stars have denied it is them in the clips. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

To the worry of investors hoping for more openness and reforms, the pornography law -- passed in 2008 to ban public displays of flesh and behavior that could incite lust -- was seen by many as a step back in moderate, democratic Indonesia.

The videos feature people that resemble Nazril “Ariel” Irham, a singer in Indonesian band Peter Pan, and his celebrity girlfriends.

They have been downloaded and passed on through websites and mobile phones. Some teachers have deleted the clips from students’ phones

The case angered Islamic groups which sealed off a restaurant owned by one of Irham’s girlfriends. It has also been used to revive a plan by a minister from the Islamist PKS party to regulate Internet content.

Irham could face a maximum penalty of 12 years in jail for making the tapes, said Zainuri Lubis, a national police spokesman.

“At the least he can be charged with negligence. If we make (a pornography product), we are aware that at one point it could be circulated to the public,” he said.

Under the pornography law, anyone who produces, makes, copies, circulates, broadcasts, offers, trades, loans or provides pornography can be jailed for between six months and 12 years and can be fined up to six billion rupiah ($665,900).

Many in the world’s most populous Muslim country hold a moderate form of the belief, but small yet growingly vocal Islamist minorities have pressed for a conservative agenda in officially secular Indonesia.

($1=9010 Rupiah)

Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee)

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