Tue, 18 Sep 2001

Ari to be sent to prison

JAKARTA (JP): The grandson of former president Soeharto, Ari Haryo Wibowo, popularly known as Ari Sigit, was scheduled to be transferred to Salemba prison on Monday but he was sent to the hospital instead as he collapsed upon hearing the decision.

One of his lawyers, Muhammad Burhanuddin, said that Ari fainted when he was told that he would be placed in the prison after being detained for one month by the city police for firearms and ammunitions ownership.

"He is probably shocked. We can understand that for most of his life, he has been a member of the former first family," the lawyer said.

Earlier in the morning, Ari looked healthy when he arrived at the Jakarta Police headquarters.

He had been treated at the Kramatjati Police Hospital in East Jakarta for his lung disease.

City police spokesman Sr. Comr. Anton Bachrul Alam said that in the morning, Ari was picked up by the police from the hospital and taken to Jakarta Police Headquarters to sign several documents.

"Starting today he is no longer under police custody," Anton said.

The police then took Ari to the Jakarta Prosecutors' Office.

It was at the prosecutor's office where Ari fainted upon being told that he would be transferred to Salemba prison.

He was later sent back to the hospital, Burhanuddin said.

The 31-year-old Ari, eldest son of Sigit Hardjojudanto, was detained by the Jakarta Police on Aug. 14, following a search in his house in the plush Menteng area where police found firearms and 70 bullets.

The search was made in connection with the police's attempts to locate the whereabouts of Ari's fugitive uncle, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, who has been on the run since November last year.

Ari was accused of violating Article 1 of Emergency Law No 12/1951 on firearms and ammunitions ownership, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

He has repeatedly said that the firearms and ammunitions belonged to his grandfather. He admitted to have been involved in shooting activities but he said he never bought any of his own.(emf)