Monday, 1 June 2009

Model home safely after dramatic escape

Ary Hermawan , The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/01/2009 10:12 AM |

Joyful return: Daisy Fajarina kisses her daughter Manohara Odelia at their residence in Slipi, West Jakarta on Sunday, shortly after speaking with journalists about Monohara’s dramatic escape from a hotel in Singapore. JP/R.Berto Wedhatama

Daisy Fajarina proved she was not just being an overprotective mother or looking for instant fame as she and her daughter, Manohara Odelia Pinot, joyfully returned to Jakarta on Sunday, after a dramatic escape from a hotel in Singapore where Manohara was kept by her allegedly abusive royal husband.

Speaking to a press conference in Jakarta, the Indonesian model recounted her dramatic escape: she had to hideout in a bathroom to buy time, refuse injections against her will and repeatedly pressed the emergency button on the elevator before Singaporean police came to rescue her.

“They then brought me to a room. Mother came to me not long after and I embraced her at once,” she said, as quoted by

Daisy had frequently appeared on TV gossip shows claiming her 17-year-old daughter had been kidnapped and abused by her husband, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, the prince of the Kelantan Sultanate. She pleaded for the help of government officials, lawmakers, rights activists and religious leaders to release her daughter, while her in-laws in Malaysia downplayed her allegations.

Manohara said she was in Singapore to visit Kelantan Sultan Ismail Petra, who was brought to the city-state for heart treatment. She was informed by a member of the Kelantan sultanate, whom she declined to name, that her mother would meet her there and take her home.

The royal family initially planned to stay there for five weeks but when they knew Daisy was flying to Singapore they decided to shorten their visit, Manohara told reporters. She said she was about to be locked in the sultan’s room before she managed to escape.

Daisy’s lawyer, Yuli Andre Darma, was quoted by as saying Daisy coordinated with the American and Indonesian Embassies in Singapore to rescue Manohara after receiving information of Manohara’s visit. An FBI agent, he added, was also involved in the rescue mission.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah confirmed the involvement of US embassy officials, but said he did not know whether the US Federal Bureau of Investigation took part in the process. “I cannot verify that,” he said.

The US embassy was involved because the biological father of Manohara is an American, which makes her an American national, he said. He denied the embassies had orchestrated the rescue mission with Daisy and her lawyers. “The US and Indonesian embassies were contacted by the Singaporean police [after they rescued her].”

Upon her return, Manohara confirmed her mother’s claims of ill-treatment at the hands of her husband, saying that hers was just one example of how bad Indonesians are treated in their neighboring country.

She said her husband thought of her as his “property” and that she was treated like a “toy” during her stay with the royal family. “To Fakhry, Mano is like a toy. Fakhry said, ‘you are my property’,” she said.

She said that she had been sexually abused by her husband, who at one time slashed her with a razor. She was also forced to receive fertility injections.

Daisy’s lawyers said they would report Fakhry to the police now that they have evidence of the abuse. “Manohara’s arrival and her testimony that she had been ill-treated are evidence that this is not mere gossip,” Darma said.

Manohara also called for the ousting of Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia, Dai Bachtiar, for failing to help her and instead telling the media she was fine. The Foreign Ministry, however, said the demand was out of proportion, adding that the embassy there had done what it could.

Manohara is seeking a divorce.

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