Indonesia may have strict anti-pornography laws, yet we are seeing once again how they may not apply to those in power.
This week, the National Police announced last year’s arrest of a 25-year-old woman, identified by her initials FA, for violations of Law no. 44/2008 on Pornography, the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), and the Criminal Code (KUHP) after a sex tape featuring her and the Penajam Paser Utara Regency’s Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) speaker, who police identified by his initials SMN, leaked online.
Police said SMN reported FA to the police in June 2022 and she was arrested the following September. Her charges, which were based on the accusation that she produced and disseminated the sex tape, carry a maximum six-year sentence and a fine of IDR1 billion (US$66,082).
FA has been in police detention ever since, while SMN has not been charged with anything.
According to FA’s lawyer, Zainul Arifin, it was SMN who asked to meet with his client at a mall in Senayan, Jakarta, in September 2021 after she was introduced to the politician by his colleague. During that meeting, SMN offered FA IDR1.5 million (US$99.12) for sex, after which the pair went together to a hotel in Senayan.
“Amid economic struggles in which [FA] needed money for everyday needs, as well as to support her parents and pay for college, my client reluctantly accepted the offer,” Zainul said.
Zainul added that FA left the hotel room after receiving the money. Sometime later, she was shocked to find that a video of her sexual intercourse with SMN had circulated online.
“My client has no knowledge of how the video leaked and circulated. My client is a victim of pornographic video production,” he said, implying FA was not responsible for the creation of the sex tape.
Zainul is seeking legal assistance and protection for FA from the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), SMN’s political party, and the police. The latter has not responded to Zainul’s plea to release his client on bail.
It’s certainly curious but hardly surprising that SMN, being the other party in the sex tape, has not been charged with the same violations as FA. As we have seen in cases involving celebrities Ariel and Gisella Anastasia, even those who did not leak their own sex tapes have been charged (and imprisoned for three-and-a-half years in the former’s case) just for appearing in self-produced pornographic videos.
That said, the police have said they have not ruled out the possibility of making SMN a suspect in the case. Police also noted that they have arrested two other people suspected of disseminating the sex tape online, and investigators are looking into a suspicion that the pair had worked with FA to blackmail SMN.