Indonesian starlet Dewi Persik was bragging last week that nothing, not jail, not even death itself, scared her. But on Thursday as officers attempted to escort the singer to jail the controversial artist sang an entirely different tune.
The celebrity, a dangdut singer known for her roles in down-market horror films, locked herself in her room and refused to come out on Thursday morning. Her family told the officers with the East Jakarta Prosecutors Office that Dewi was too sick to serve her sentence. They requested the officers return on another day.
“The family said Dewi is not fit, but we’re still waiting,” Prosecutor Ibnu Suud told the Indonesian news portal Merdeka.com.
Dewi herself, reportedly hiding out in her bedroom, tweeted an explanation to the media, imploring the country’s news outlets to avoid sensationalizing her refusal to begin a three-month stint behind bars. She was just asking for a moment to compose herself, the star complained, not running away.
“Don’t turn this into the wrong kind of news,” she wrote. “Let me eat and take a bath. You’re not going to arrest me while I’m wearing a house dress, right? Who do you think you are?”
She followed up with a more direct clarification.
“I’m not running away, please be careful when you publish the news!!!” she tweeted.
Dewi was sentenced to three months in jail for her role in a videotaped brawl with rival dangdut artist Julia Perez. The two were co-starring in “Arwah Goyang Karawang” (“The Dancing Ghost of Karawang”) — one of the dozens of low-rent horror/comedy films produce annually in Indonesia — when what was supposed to be a scripted fight turned real. The two women tumbled to the ground, brawling in the narrow hallway of Hotel Mega Matra, in Matraman, East Jakarta, while the cameras rolled.
The footage, which was posted on YouTube, was later included in the studio release of the film in an apparent marketing ploy.
Julia, who was briefly classified as a fugitive from justice, recently completed her jail sentence. She also claimed to be ill before the start of her term, even going as far as seeking the medical counsel of Andreas Hari, the doctor who famously treated graft convict Nunun Nurbaeti for her mysterious “forgetting disease.”
The prosecutors office seemed unwilling to tolerate Dewi’s refusal on Thursday. Her excuse, that she was too ill, is a familiar one in Indonesia. Everyone from detained politicians to celebrities has used a sudden bout of illness in an often failed attempt to delay justice.
“Today we will execute the ruling of Supreme Court,” Ibnu told Merdeka.com. “The defendant has been convicted and sentenced to three months in jail.” The Jakarta Globe