Jakarta: Playboy Indonesia`s former editor, serving a two-year prison sentence for publishing pictures of scantily clad women, has been acquitted by the Supreme Court, his lawyer said on Friday.
The long-running case has highlighted the growing militancy of a vocal fringe seeking the implementation of Islamic-based laws in Indonesia, a moderate democracy that is the world`s most populous Muslim nation.
Erwin Arnada, the former editor of the now defunct magazine, is expected to be released from Jakarta`s Cipinang prison on Friday, his lawyer Heriyanto Yang said.
Yang said the court made its decision late last month. Bureaucratic delays in such decisions being released are not uncommon in Indonesia.
When Playboy Indonesia hit newsstands in 2006, members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front attacked its editorial offices and filed a criminal complaint against Arnada.
The trial, however, angered free speech activists and Indonesia`s Press Council defended the magazine saying it did not contain pornography or violate media laws.
Toned down for the local market, Playboy Indonesia had photos of women in undergarments, occasionally with partially exposed breasts. But the pictures were less risqué than some appearing in other magazines sold openly on street corners.
Arnada was previously acquitted by a district court in 2007, but the Supreme Court convicted him last year on an appeal from prosecutors. It ruled that Arnada had violated indecency provisions in the criminal code.
His lawyers then filed a judicial review as Arnada began his sentence. They argued that judges were wrong to use the criminal code instead of Indonesia`s press law.
"A verdict on our judicial review was handed down on May 25, ruling that the indictment by the prosecutors could not be accepted," Yang said.