Indonesian hardliner protests Playboy evidence

On trial over attack on rally for religious tolerance


An Indonesian Islamic hardliner on trial over an armed attack on a rally for religious tolerance objected Monday when a police officer introduced seized copies of Playboy magazine as evidence.

Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab said the magazines had no connection with his trial.

He is accused of being behind the June attack by hundreds of his stick-wielding followers.

"It has nothing to do with the case. Why should it be used here?" Rizieq, wearing a turban, told central Jakarta district court.

"It's about my reputation. The prosecutors have tarnished my good reputation."

The police officer testified for the prosecution that he seized the magazines and a photograph during raids on Rizieq's home and the Jakarta headquarters of the FPI.

Videos of the attack and of Rizieq's sermons were also seized, the policeman said.

Rizieq said the seized photograph featured a Miss Indonesia contestant, and the magazines were in his office as part of his archives.

"We reject those things as evidence in court," he said, arguing that the FPI has been "in war against pornography" for 10 years and was responsible for a previous court case against Playboy.

An Indonesian court threw out on a technicality an indecency case against the local editor of Playboy magazine in 2007. The Indonesian version of the magazine did not publish any nudes but it angered hardliners who saw it as a corrupting influence in society.

FPI, which wants sharia, or Islamic law, has launched a series of violent vigilante attacks since 2000. Its targets have included the US embassy and nightclubs.

Rizieq faces up to five-and-a-half years in jail if convicted for the attack on the rally, which saw extremists armed with wooden sticks set upon the peaceful gathering by unarmed people at the city's national monument. Several people were injured.