Indonesian lawmaker resigns after porn scandal

The scandal broke Friday after a local photojournalist filmed Arifinto, a member of the Prosperous Justice Party, watching pornography for several minutes as fellow lawmakers debated plans to build a new Parliament building.

The blurred out images have been published online and on the front pages of newspapers almost every day since.

The case has transfixed this predominantly Muslim nation, dominating headlines and discussions on Facebook and Twitter.

Critics on the social networking sites have blasted the lawmaker, with some calling him a hypocrite and others saying he should be prosecuted under the pornography law he helped pass.

Fifty-year-old Arifinto, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, apologized to his constituents today and told reporters during a hastily arranged news conference he was stepping down from Parliament immediately.

"It's my decision," said the father of five, insisting he had received no pressure from his staunchly Islamic party. "Nobody tried to coerce me."

Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other country in the world.

Though most are moderate, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

They have pushed through controversial laws including the tough anti-porn bill that went into effect in 2008 despite strong opposition from the public and some members of government.

The law was used in January to sentence Nazril "Ariel" Irham, lead singer of the country's most popular band Peterpan, to 3 1/2 years in jail after two homemade sex tapes found their way to the Internet.

Last year the editor in chief of Playboy Indonesia was also given two years behind bars.
Many argue that the law is vaguely worded and carries overly harsh penalties.


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