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Donors Close to Paying Off Prita’s Fine

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 | Internet, Pribadi

Support for Prita Mulyasari is continuing to pour in from across the country.

Barely a week after news emerged that the Banten High Court had upheld a lower court’s ruling in the civil defamation suit filed against Prita by Omni International Hospital and ordered her to pay Rp 204 million ($21,400) in damages, the 32-year-old mother of two has now been pledged more than 80 percent of the amount.

The “Help Prita” movement, an effort initiated by bloggers to collect coins to help pay Prita’s fine, has so far raised Rp 17 million, according to organizers.

Wicaksono, a prominent blogger under the pen name Ndoro Kakung who helped organize the effort, said that in one cafe alone — Wetiga in South Jakarta — more than Rp 5,280,000 in coins had been collected as of Monday afternoon.

“And this is only in Wetiga,” he said.

Wicaksono said that people outside Jakarta could now donate as well, with donation centers set up in Bandung and Yogyakarta.

“We are in the process of setting up an account for donors abroad,” he added.

Ade Novita, the initiator of the Help Prita movement, said some people had even made donations in foreign currencies.

“There’s a foreign citizen who gave us a yen. We will exchange it for rupiah,” Ade told Metro TV.

Even a young boy donated his savings to Prita.

“A 3-year-old boy came and handed me his small piggy bank. It was very moving,” Ade said.

Prita is extremely touched by the support, according to her lawyer Slamet Yuwono, a partner with OC Kaligis law firm.

“Ibu Prita said that only God can repay the kindness people have shown her,” Slamet said, adding that the major donations pledged so far would be channeled through private fund-raising groups.

Former Industry Minister Fahmi Idris has offered to pay half the fine, or Rp 102 million, while members of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) raised Rp 50 million.

Slamet added that Prita would only accept the money if she lost her appeal with the Supreme Court.

Support for Prita, whose case became a cause celebre after she was jailed for three weeks in relation to the defamation charges, also came through song.

Singer and songwriter Tere, who is currently serving as a lawmaker in the House of Representatives, said she was inspired to write a song about the plight of the Tangerang mother, who was jailed and fined for sending an e-mail to some friends complaining about her treatment at Omni Hospital.

The song, titled “Nol Besar” (“Big Zero”), will be included on an indie album and the profits donated to women’s organizations, according to Tere.

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