Mon, 24 Jan 2000

Three men detained for slander

JAKARTA (JP): South Jakarta Police detectives have detained three men for questioning over their alleged role in spreading fallacious stories about a female billionaire.

Col. Nono Suprijono, head of the local police station, said on Sunday the three men had slandered 49-year-old Djuriah Dian Maimun Al Rashid, who regularly donated money to local poor people, by telling residents of Petukangan Selatan subdistrict in Pesangrahan that she did so to bring more power for her "magic".

The three men -- Djayadih, 62, Madany, 48, and Mashur, 45 -- then allegedly told the recipients of donations, often orphans, that with her new power, Djuriah hoped the people could help her build a mosque and a house in Cinere without having to spend her own money.

"Influenced by these groundless rumors, some 2,500 orphaned children whom she routinely feeds refused to go to the school she has built in the Kampung Sawah area, fearing that she is a witch or something.

"Djuriah, who is in the real estate business, was angry and stopped giving out donations this year," officer Nono said.

Later, senior residents of Petukangan Selatan realized that the stories spread by Djayadih, a subdistrict chief in the area, and his two accomplices were untrue, Nono explained.

"The residents have written Djuriah a letter stating she needn't be angry with them, since the real culprits were Djayadih and his friends," Nono said.

Based on a preliminary investigation, police detained the three late last week and questioned them based on Article 310 of the Criminal Code on spreading slander.

"If proven guilty in court, they could each get as much as two years in prison," Nono said.

But the officer said police have yet to name them as suspects in the case since local detectives are still finding out the real motive.

Djayadih said on Sunday he believed the high fever suffered by his son was caused by Djuriah after the boy passed in front of her house.

He said his ailing boy was mumbling about trees and genies.

"His fever was very high... I suspected that something was wrong," Djayadih recalled.

He, however, admitted regularly receiving donations of Rp 200,000 from Djuriah. (ylt)