01 June 2009
Manohara Odelia Pinot
This is a case that has been in the news for some time. You can read an account from go to whoa here (you will have to do a search to get all the relevant pieces to the puzzle). It is a fascinating tale and somewhat tragic as well if all that is being reported is true. I have been following the news but have never gotten around to writing about it. However, the recent "escape" by Manohara (photo courtesy of AFP) from her captors makes this far more interesting as there are myriad of possibilities opening up on the Indonesian / Malaysian bilateral relationship front.
The basic gist of the story is that Manohara, who is part Indonesian and part American, a part-time model, and reportedly a regular on the Jakartan and Indonesian social scene, was married off at just 16 years of age to a Malaysian prince. Sounds like a bit of a fairy tale so far. However, the prince, Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry or Kelantan State, was not so much prince charming but rather prince nightmare in Kelantan State.
Manohara has claimed that she has been a victim, specifically she has said she was a sex slave, who has not only been raped, but tortured as well. The torture includes having her chest slashed with a razor blade (I am guessing that if this ever goes to trial then the pictures will find their way to the Internet eventually).
The plot of this saga is an interesting one as the reports of abuse have been not so secret for some time. Manohara's mother when tried to get into Malaysia to check the reports out for herself but was blocked from doing so by Malaysian authorities. The Indonesian government was not so forth coming in providing any consular assistance either. The mother, Daisy Fajarina, is threatening to get the legal action ball rolling and suing the prince. Perhaps she should sue the Indonesian government as well considering it was the Indonesian government that said Manohara was all well with her happy-go-lucky prince charming.
The other thing to consider is Manohara' age and the fact that her mother seems to have agreed to, and signed off on, the marriage. So, should she be held partly responsible, contributory negligence on the old lady's part?
The escape seems to have been well-coordinated and premised on some good behaviour on Manohara's part as the prince let her travel to Singapore with the prince's family. Whilst in Singapore Manohara did the big bolt and with the assistance of Singaporean police she has managed to find her way to Jakarta and freedom.
Funnily enough the Indonesian authorities are now saying that they would be willing to assist her if she was keen to file charges. If charges are to be filed then it would appear that seeing the alleged crimes were committed in Malaysia's jurisdiction then the charges must be filed there. I am also guessing that Manohara might have to return to Malaysia to give testimony in any trial (although I would have to check whether Malaysian law would allow in camera testimony via video link from Jakarta).
This case has all the ingredients for a sensational trial if it is allowed to get that far. Hopefully, it is not just consigned to the gossip scrapheap.
I am guessing a divorce must be the first item on the agenda.