Sex-Tape Women in Police Sights, but Experts Doubt Basis for Charging Ariel
Heru Andriyanto & Farouk Arnaz
With legal experts questioning the grounds for any prosecution, police said on Wednesday that the two women seen in sex videos with singer Nazril “Ariel” Irham would soon be named suspects and arrested, pending the results of physical examinations.
“We’re sure we can charge Luna [Maya] and Cut Tari soon,” National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi said.
“There has to be an article we can charge them with. If you have sex outside of marriage and the public finds out, then you should be punished, right?” he said. “It’s only logical.”
Ito said that even if the celebrities had not intended for the videos to be made public, “the fact is the videos were widely distributed. It’s not magic. We suspect Ariel showed them to several friends to brag.”
Police say three widely circulated sex videos feature Ariel, his actress-girlfriend Luna and TV host Cut Tari.
The case has quickly become a battle of outraged moral guardians against the wide-open world of the Internet and permissive modern morality.
Legal experts, however, said grounds for prosecuting Ariel, who was arrested on Tuesday, were suspect.
Ariel, the frontman for the band Peterpan, is the first celebrity caught up in the controversial 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, with police charging him under Article 4, Paragraph 1, which bans the production, distribution and trade of pornographic materials.
“He cannot be charged under the anti-porn law because the supplementary explanation of the very same law clearly excludes production for personal and private possession,” said Eddy Hiariej, a law lecturer at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.
Senior detective Brig. Gen. Saut Usman Nasution has argued that the exemption does not apply to a non-spousal sexual relationship, but Eddy said: “That argument is groundless, because the law doesn’t specify that only married people can document their sexual relationship for personal use. It appears to me that the case is more about moral issues.
“Because the scandal came to the attention of the whole nation, and also the international media, police think they must do something,” Eddy said.
Police have also charged Ariel under Article 282 of the Criminal Code that bans the distribution of pornographic materials.
“But so far it has not been proved that Ariel distributed the videos in the first place,” said University of Indonesia criminal law expert Adrianus Meliala.
“Under this article, the first person who uploaded the videos to the Internet is the best suspect. While police still cannot find that person, the best they can do against Ariel is to charge him with criminal negligence.”
Moral condemnation continued, with conservatives clearly wanting the celebrities to pay for their presumed sins.
“Police must apply cumulative charges to allow for the harsh punishment of perpetrators in a case of immorality,” said Asrorun Niam Sholeh, a professor at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in South Jakarta. Ariel “has contributed to the moral degradation of the nation.”
Brig. Gen. Musaddeq Ishaq, head of the National Police’s medical unit, said police had performed “scientific crime identification” to confirm whether the three people in the videos were indeed the accused celebrities.
“We conducted what we call anatomical, anthropological and [dental] forensics to back up our case,” he said. “What we did was compare these three people with the people in the videos.”
He declined to say what the results were.