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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Tommy Suharto turns to Islam
Tommy Suharto walks with a prison guard
Playboy to prison scholar: Tommy Suharto
The millionaire playboy son of Indonesia's ex-dictator will study Islam during his 15-year jail term for murder, his lawyer has said.

Two Muslim preachers will give Tommy Suharto weekly classes in religious guidance in his Jakarta jail cell, according to lawyer Elza Syarief.

Tommy needs spiritual help and wants to meditate to calm his spirits

Preacher Habib Ali Baqil

Tommy has also asked his family to bring him religious books, said Ms Syarief who was part of the defence team during Tommy's trial for murder, weapons possession and evasion of justice.

Correspondents say it is the second surprising announcement regarding Tommy Suharto in a week, following Thursday's statement that he would not appeal his conviction or sentence.

Jet-setting reputation

By the time he was arrested in November 2001 for the murder of a judge who found him guilty of a real estate scam, Tommy had become a symbol of the excesses committed during President Suharto's 32-year reign.

He had earned a reputation for his taste in cars and women, his jet-setting ways and his business empire worth $800m. Reports from Jakarta say he rarely mentioned religion, being more fond of nightclubs than mosques.

Tommy Suharto gives a prison press conference watched by guards
Tommy has asked visitors to bring him religious books
Tommy, whose real name is Hutomo Mandala Putra, could yet ask for a presidential pardon. But his lawyer Ms Syarief said he has not yet made any decision on his remaining legal options.

For the meantime, he is "keen to study and has invited preachers to deepen his knowledge on Islam," she said.

One of the preachers who will visit Tommy in Cipinang prison, Habib Ali Baqil, said: "Tommy needs spiritual help and wants to meditate to calm his spirits.

"I told him to return to the path of God."

See also:

01 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
19 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
26 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
23 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
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