Tue, 08 Feb 2000

West Jakarta Court drops charges against Zarina

JAKARTA (JP): A panel of judges at the West Jakarta District Court on Tuesday dropped the prosecutor's charges against drug suspect Zarina Mirafsur, saying that the indictment was incomplete.

"In the indictment, the prosecutor did not clearly describe that the defendant had committed the crime along with her friend, Ahian Santoso, alias Yeye," presiding judge Basoeki told the courtroom.

In the indictment, the prosecutor accused the defendant of collaborating with Yeye to illegally possess psychotropic substances during their stay at a hotel apartment in West Jakarta on Nov. 11 last year.

According to the prosecutor, such activity had already violated Article 62 of the 1997 Law on Psychotropics, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

But judge Basoeki asserted that the prosecutor failed to explain the term "collaborated with" in the indictment.

"The prosecutor only wrote in the indictment that Zarina and Ahian were involved in a quarrel in front of the two people arrested by the city police in room 1512 of the hotel," he told the packed courtroom.

Basoeki instead said the prosecutor had violated Article 143 of the criminal code in which the prosecutor must compose an indictment in an accurate and complete manner.

Basoeki said the court would not hear the case in the future since it had ruled to drop the indictment.

"The indictment was ground for the court to examine the case. Since it was dropped, we will not run the case in the future," he said.

The judges' decision immediately relieved Zarina, who has seemed to be badly affected by the charges.

Shortly after judge Basoeki read the decision to drop the case, Zarina held up her hands to the air in prayer before shaking hands with the panel of three judges.

But Basoeki said that the former television actress and national badminton player has a remaining term to serve in the Tangerang Women's Penitentiary.

"She must continue to complete her jail sentence for her previous drug case," he said.

The same court sentenced her to four years in jail in 1996 after she was found guilty of storing some 30,000 ecstasy pills at her home.

Just like in her other courtroom appearances, Zarina was surrounded by photographers and television crews.

Under the heavy escort of court officials, Zarina, dubbed by local media as the queen of ecstasy following her 1996 drug case, left the courtroom without giving a single word to the press. (asa)