Thu, 03 Aug 2000

Maya Sigit drug hearing begins at district court

JAKARTA (JP): Gusti Maya Firanti Noor, 29, wife of former president Soeharto's grandson, Ari Sigit, appeared at the West Jakarta District Court without her husband on Wednesday for the initial hearing of her alleged involvement in drugs.

Dressed in black, the somber-looking defendant, better known as Maya Sigit, politely answered all questions by prosecutor Achjadi Sartono and presiding judge Sri Handojo, and mainly kept her head down during the reading of the indictment and the questioning of three witnesses.

She was accompanied by lawyers Yacob Johannes and Basuki Abdullah.

"The defendant has violated Article 62 of Law No. 5/1997 on psychotropic substances," Achjadi said in the hearing, packed with attendees, among them her friends.

The article carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp 100 million (US$11,235).

Achjadi said the defendant was arrested after police found 1.58 grams of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) and smoking equipment, among other things, in her possession and inside her Mercedes Benz sedan, which was parked in the parking lot of Hotel Olympic in West Jakarta's Tamansari district on June 22, 2000.

West Jakarta Police deputy chief of detectives Sr. Insp. Asrofi, 51, told the court that he was about 50 meters from Hotel Olympic on the day the defendant was arrested, when he heard people arguing over fake money and vouchers.

"I checked with an owner of a store near the hotel, which was selling cell phone vouchers. The store owner told me that two people had tried to buy a Rp 100,000 Pro-XL voucher from him, using two Rp 50,000 banknotes. One banknote was fake," Asrofi said.

"I ran after the two guys. One man turned out to be the hotel's security guard, who was asked by the defendant to buy the voucher for her with the money she had given him."

Asrofi said that as he approached Maya, who was sitting in her sedan, and was asking her about the fake money, he spotted the smoking equipment placed next to her.

"I checked her purse and found a small packet containing one gram of shabu-shabu, aluminum foil, and other things," he said.

"I got First. Sgt. Riyanto of the West Jakarta Police to search the sedan and he found another packet under the driver's seat, containing 0.5816 grams of shabu-shabu."

When judge Handojo asked Maya to respond to Asrofi's testimony, she said the drug packet inside her purse weighed 0.5816 grams while the packet found under the driver's seat weighed one gram.

"The witness has not given correct testimony," she told the court.

At the hearing, Achjadi said that at 4 a.m. on June 22, a witness, identified as Fritts Patty, alias Alfred, arrived at room no. 309 at Hotel Olympic to deliver the drugs to the defendant and received Rp 150,000 in payment from the defendant.

The defendant, he said, then left for the Barcelona Atlanta karaoke bar in West Jakarta, returning to the hotel only at 11:30 a.m.

Parking her sedan in the hotel's parking lot, Achjadi said Maya then gave two Rp 50,000 banknotes to a security guard at the hotel and asked him to buy a cell phone voucher for her.

Before ending the hearing, Judge Handojo read a letter from the defendant's parents, which was addressed to the panel of judges and stated that the defendant was in need of medical treatment due to severe depression and lung problems at Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta.

"The panel of judges will consider the letter," Handojo said.

The next hearing will be held on Aug. 21.

Afterward, Maya's mother, Heldi Jaffar Nur, told reporters that she would attend every hearing of her daughter's case to show her support.

"Even if our children do something wrong, they are still our children," she said.

When asked why Maya's husband had not come to the hearing, Heldi said that he must have been ashamed.

"It concerns his good name also," Heldi said, adding that as far as she knew, he loved his wife.

"He is a good man, who loves Maya ... of course, there could be some jealousy between husband and wife. It's logical. It's possible that the couple are bored with each other and decided to try new things."

"Anything can happen in a marriage." (ylt)