Indonesian 'sex cult' leader jailed

JAKARTA: The leader of an Indonesian cult who sermonised in his underpants and demanded that his acolytes perform in sex orgies has been jailed for blasphemy, a judge said Friday.

Agus Noro, also known as Agus Imam Solihin or "leader of the faithful," was found by the South Jakarta district court to have blasphemed against Islam, lead judge Haryanto said.

The court found Noro forced four married couples belonging to his Satria Piningit Weteng Buwono cult, meaning "Chosen Warriors from the Belly of the World," to perform group sex in his house in 2003 while he and two teenage followers watched.

Noro also banned his followers from praying and fasting, which are religious obligations in Islam.

"The prosecutors demanded four years but the decision was two-and-a-half years because the accused didn't create or spread a new religion," Haryanto said.

Judges decided on a more lenient sentence because Noro had withdrawn an earlier claim that he was God, Haryanto added.

"What's clear is that he changed the teachings of Islam. What the Satria Piningit did was to act more like a community whose an understanding of religion was so weak they didn't know what they were doing."

Noro had turned himself in in January after a three-day hunt.

Muslims make up nearly 90 percent of Indonesia's 234 million people. The country also officially recognises Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Confucian minorities.