Indonesia jails militant Santoso's widow for harbouring husband

The prosecutors say that she could have been charged with a more serious offence because she had discharged a firearm on Santoso's orders.

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Indonesia jailed the widow of East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) militant leader Santoso for two years and three months on Thursday for harbouring her husband when he was on the run from security forces.

The sentence was shorter than the three years' jail sought by prosecutors for Jumiatun, a 22-year-old Indonesian woman who married Santoso in 2013.

Santoso, who was listed as the country's most wanted terrorist, was killed in July 2016, during a shoot-out with Indonesian troops. The forces were a part of a massive manhunt operation against him and his fighters.

While sentencing, North Jakarta District Court Judge Abdul Rosad noted that Jumiatun went ahead with her marriage to Santoso despite knowing that he was a fugitive. "The defendant met Santoso regularly and discreetly with the intention of harbouring Santoso from the authorities," Rosad said.

The judge added that Santoso was the leader of the MIT, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The terrorist group is responsible for several attacks carried out with bombs and firearms that resulted in the deaths of policemen as well as local residents whom they suspect had spied on them.

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

Reports said Jumiatun married Santoso when she was still a teenager. In 2015, Santoso instructed her to leave their baby girl and asked her to go live with him as a fugitive in the jungles of Poso, Central Sulawesi. It was a hide out for the MIT.

In order to avoid detection by security forces, Jumiatun lived in almost 12 camps while, the troops were on the run in the wilderness with the MIT.

Earlier, Jumiatun's lawyer Andi Nurul said that she has wanted to leave Santoso to return home, but they were too deep in the jungle. The prosecutors said she could have been charged with a more serious offence because she had discharged a firearm on Santoso's orders.