Indonesian court goes easy on Noordin’s little helper

Noordin M. Top

She cooked for Asia’s most wanted terrorist, Noordin M. Top, and gave him shelter as he hid from police after his followers carried out a double suicide attack against two hotels in downtown Jakarta last year.

Indonesian housewife Putri Munawaroh, 20, did this while she was pregnant with her first child. Her husband, Noordin and two other militants were killed when police raided her home in September, two months after the attacks which killed seven people. She was wounded and taken into custody.

A court on Thursday sentenced her to three years under the anti-terrorism laws for harbouring a wanted terrorist.

She claimed she didn’t know who her husband’s “guests” were, yet the court heard she actively concealed their presence at her home from her neighbours.

“In my religion the husband’s guests are not my business,” she said.

Is that the case? Does Islam dictate that women should not know who their husbands bring home to stay? What’s the point of such a belief?

The sentence was five years less than could have been imposed. A judge said Putri was shown leniency because she was young, had never committed a crime before and had a child (who was born in jail).

Strange reasons to go easy on a terrorist, if you ask me.

Islamic radicals pulled their usual stunt of disrupting the proceedings, shouting abuse at the judges and screaming religious rubbish in the courtroom. Indonesian law can be flouted and ridiculed as long it’s in the name of Allah, or so it seems.

As a curious aside, The Associated Press got it wrong when it reported that Noordin Top was the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional terror network.

Nor was he directly involved in the 2002 Bali bombings. As the International Crisis Group explains, Noordin “knew of the project but was not one of the operatives”.

The JI leadership disapproved of Noordin’s tactics, so he did his own thing:

By 2004, when Noordin directed the bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, he was very clearly operating a splinter group, although still heavily dependent on JI for protection. By 2005, he was calling himself ‘al-Qaeda for the Malay Archipelago’.

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