Sidoarjo, E Java, (ANTARA News) - Bambang Haryo, a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), visited prominent musician Ahmad Dhani in the Surabaya Class I Jail located in Sidoarjo, East Java, to check his condition.

"Dhani is healthy and enthusiastic to fight for democracy," he said, after meeting Dhani, here, on Monday.

He regretted the arrest of Dhani and hoped that the verdict would be reviewed for the sake of democracy. He believed that Dhani is the only person who received such an (unfair) treatment.

Following the reform in 1998, democracy should have been better, but it is regressing now, according to the legislator.

He stated that the number of people who supported Dhani is not just hundreds of thousands, but millions. "Democracy is being silenced," he noted.

The MP remarked that he was informed by Dhani about the condition in the overcrowded jails, both in Jakarta and Surabaya, and Dhani vowed that he would fight for better conditions of jail or prison for the interest of inmates.

Dhani was awarded a 1.5-year prison term by the South Jakarta Court on Jan 28, 2019, as he was found guilty of a hate speech tweet on his Twitter account.

His tweet in March 2017, considered a hate speech and causing him to be jailed for one and half year, read: "Whoever supporting blasphemy is a bastard who needs to be spit on his face."

Dhani had appealed to a higher court, but the judge decided that he must be immediately imprisoned after the Jakarta Court trial.

On Feb 6, Dhani was about to be transferred from Cipinang Prison in Jakarta to Surabaya`s jail at the request of the Surabaya prosecutor`s office that has charged him for another defamation case.

After a long debate, the transfer was supposed to be cancelled. Indra Wansyach, a member of Dhani`s lawyer team, earlier pointed out that Dhani needed to remain in Jakarta to prepare his appeal to higher court. He would be taken by plane to Surabaya only for the first trial on Feb 7 and then would return to Jakarta again on the same day, the lawyer revealed.

However, on early Feb 7, Dhani was taken to Surabaya and until now he remains in Surabaya`s jail.

The Surabaya Court held the first trial against Dhani, who was wearing a T-shirt read "political prisoner," on Feb 7, 2019.

The Surabaya prosecutor`s office charges Dhani for his statement on his Instagram account on Aug 26, 2018.

Dhani was in a Surabaya`s hotel which was surrounded by a number of protestors who were against Dhani`s presence in the city, because Dhani was to attend an event called "A declaration to change the President in 2019" held in the Surabaya Heroes` Monument.

The protestors were grouped in the "Defend NKRI (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia)" coalition.

While being stopped from leaving the hotel, Dhani recorded a video on his Instagram account, containing his statement, saying: "These who are protesting, the protestors defend the ruler. It`s funny, funny. These, these are the idiots, protesting against people who are not in power."

Public prosecutor Dedi Arisandi charged Dhani with a violation against the Law No 11 year 2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE).

He noted that Dhani had insulted, harassed, and defamed the protestors by calling them "idiots".

Dhani is a famous Indonesian rock musician, songwriter, arranger, and producer. He is the frontman of the Dewa 19 rock band and also a member of the inter-continental band The Rock.

He has worked as a promoter and songwriter for other artists, including Maia Ahmad, Agnes Monica, Alexa Key, and Mulan Jameela. He has won numerous awards, including the IMA for best musical arrangement.

Currently, Dhani has joined the camp of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, the rival of incumbent Joko Widodo, in the presidential election to be held on April 17, 2019.

Dhani is a campaigner of the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno`s success team during the ongoing presidential campaign period that began in October 2019 and will end on April 13, 2019.

Reporting by Indra Setiawan, Fardah Assegaf
Editing by Eliswan Azly

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Suharto
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