Monday, 17 September, 2012 | 17:19 WIB
Why Would Putri Erlina, 16, Kill Herself?
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:A 16-year-old girl hanged herself to death in her room, shortly after her arrest by sharia police in Langsa, Aceh. The exact reasons of why she killed herself are not know. She somewhat explains herself in a letter which she addressed to her father.
Putri's suicide attracted huge attention because it came on the heels of her detention by sharia police in Aceh. In the early hours of a Monday, two weeks ago, Aceh’s Wilayatul Hisbah, or sharia police, conducted a raid at the Merdeka Square of Langsa, in search of teenagers who were hanging out at those hours. According to Aceh’s qanun (Islamic bylaw), Aceh’s religious police are authorized to oversee the enforcement of Islamic sharia law across the province, including Langsa. Both Putri and her friend were arrested, where they were subjected to interrogations and had to sign a police statement, vowing that they would not spend nights outside their home or hang out with boys or men at any time.
Putri and her friend were spared lashings and a hefty fine because both were underage. But apparently, the local newspaper learned of this detention. On Tuesday, September 4, the local paper ran the following news report: “Two Underage Prostitutes Nabbed At Dawn!” The item said that two underage girls had been arrested by sharia police while they were in the midst of young boys at Merdeka Square in Langsa. The report mentions also the rumor that sharia police are hunting down a pimp.
Putri did not feel at home at her aunt’s place. After staying the night, the very next day, she asked her aunt to return her to her home in Aramiah village. "Despite being stopped, she insisted on returning home that very day," said Nurul, Putri's mother, who has been divorced for two years from Yusri, Putri's father. Meanwhile at the village, gossip about Putri's detention had intensified. An Aramiah resident toldTempo he learned of a rumor that Putri had been arrested by sharia police after reading the news in a local daily.
Upon arrival at Aramiah, Putri still dared to walk about outside her home. She exchanged greetings with neighbours passing her home. That evening at the village of Aramiah, not far from Putri’s home, her neighbours were preparing a bride for a wedding procession which was to take place in another village.
At sunset, Yusri told Putri to go inside her house. Upon completion of the evening prayers, Yusri mingled with the neighbors who were making the wedding preparations. This included Putri's elder and kid brothers. For about three hours, what Putri did inside the house was not monitored. At about 9.30 pm, Putri's younger brother returned home to drink. This is when he saw his sister hanging from the ceiling of her room.
The family agreed that Putri was to be buried at Matang Seuliman. Two days after the burial, her aunt found a letter tucked away inside a bag carried by the junior high school dropout. The letter read:
"Father, please forgive me,
I caused you shame among the people.
But I swear I've never sold my body to anybody.
On that particular night I simply wanted to watch kibot (keyboardist) at Langsa, then I sat around on the field staying out late with my friends.
Now I don't know what to do. Let me seek life on my own.
I am of no use now.….” **************