REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, SIDOARJO -- Celebrity couple Anang Hermansyah and Ashanti visited musician-turned-politician Ahmad Dhani at the Medaeng Prison in Sidoarjo District, East Java Province, on Thursday to express their deepest sympathies. Wearing a Batik shirt, Hermansyah and his wife, Ashanti, met with Dhani, who is being jailed at the Medaeng Penitentiary while awaiting the completion of the trial process of his defamation case.
During the two-hour meeting with the top composer, musician, and founder of popular rock band Dewa 19, Anang said he encouraged Dhani to get closer spiritually to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala and become more reflective to face what has transpired with him. Anang, also known as a composer and musician-turned-politician, encouraged Dhani to remain more steadfast and patient in facing his destiny.
The presence of the celebrity couple at the Medaeng Prison has extended the list of important figures, who had visited Dhani to extend their deepest sympathies and moral support. Among Dhani's guests were the pair of presidential and vice presidential candidates, Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno.
Sandiaga had visited Dhani on Feb 16, while Prabowo met him at the prison, with maximum capacity of just some 700 inmates, on Feb 19. Speaking to journalists after his visit, Sandiaga expressed his serious concern over the fact that Dhani had been jailed in the penitentiary that is currently facing the problem of overcapacity.
"I hope that Dhani would remain resilient in facing the entire trial process. The legal procedures that he should undergo also demand mental strength," he emphasized.
Dhani, cadre of the Prabowo Subianto-led Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party, has been facing another hate speech trial after calling his political rivals "idiot." The Surabaya prosecutor's office charged the musician for a statement made on his Instagram account.
"Those, who are protesting defend the ruler. It is funny. These are the idiots protesting against people, who are not in power," according to the video containing Dhani's statement.
Before being transferred to the Medaeng Prison in Sidoarjo District on February 7, 2019, Dhani was jailed at the Jakarta-based Cipinang Prison after being found guilty of a hate speech tweet on his Twitter account. He was awarded a 1.5-year prison term by the South Jakarta Court on Jan 28 this year.
His tweet in March 2017, considered a hate speech, read: "Those supporting blasphemy are bastards who need to be spit on their faces." Dhani had appealed to a higher court, but the judge decided that he must be immediately imprisoned after the Jakarta Court trial.