Indonesian militant's widow faces 3 years' jail for harbouring husband

Jumiatun appeared before judges at the North Jakarta District Court last Monday. In 2015, on her husband's orders, she left their baby to live with him as a fugitive in the jungles of Poso, Central Sulawesi.
Jumiatun appeared before judges at the North Jakarta District Court last Monday. In 2015, on her husband's orders, she left their baby to live with him as a fugitive in the jungles of Poso, Central Sulawesi.ST PHOTO: WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA

Twenty-two year-old Jumiatun is the wife of East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) militant leader Santoso, once Indonesia's most wanted terrorist.

In 2015, she obeyed her husband and left their baby girl to live with him as a fugitive in the jungles of Poso, Central Sulawesi, where the MIT was hiding out.

In July last year, Santoso was killed in a shoot-out with Indonesian troops, who were part of a massive manhunt operation for him and his fighters.

Days later, Jumiatun was arrested and she now faces charges of harbouring her husband.

State prosecutor Mayasari, who sought a three-year jail sentence for Jumiatun in court last Monday, said: "Her religious teacher led her to marry a terrorist combatant who was on a wanted list and she was aware of that."

AT HER HUSBAND'S BEHEST

Among strict Muslim women like her, a husband's orders are the highest law.

STATE PROSECUTOR MAYASARI

She told the judges at the North Jakarta District Court that Jumiatun could have been charged with a more serious offence because she had discharged a firearm on Santoso's orders.

"But among strict Muslim women like her, a husband's orders are the highest law," said Ms Mayasari, on why the state is proceeding against Jumiatun on a lesser charge.

Jumiatun's is a common story among wives of militants, who willingly leave home at the behest of their spouses to join them on the battlefield, said observers.

She had married Santoso in 2013, when she was still a teenager.

While on the run in the wilderness with the MIT, Jumiatun lived in no fewer than 12 camps to avoid detection by security forces.

Her lawyer Andi Nurul told The Sunday Times that she had wanted to leave Santoso and go home, but they were too deep in the jungle.

"Jumiatun regretted what she did and hopes this will be over soon so she can return to her daughter," he said.

Her case will be heard again in court on Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 16, 2017, with the headline 'Militant's widow faces 3 years' jail for harbouring husband'. Print Edition | Subscribe