Indonesian police have taken in for questioning one of the wives of southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorist. But the woman didn’t know she was married to the alleged terror mastermind Noordin M. Top, her lawyer said Thursday.
“She doesn’t know that her husband was Noordin M. Top. She only knows him as a teacher for various Islamic boarding schools known as Abdul Halim,” said lawyer Achmad Michdan. Police investigating the July 17 deadly bombings at two luxury hotels in the capital, Jakarta, took the woman, Arina Rohmah, into custody on Wednesday. She is charged with obstruction of justice for withholding information from the police, her lawyer said. Police, however, have not released a statement confirming the detention. Authorities also detained her mother and her two children. Her father was not in the house when it was raided, Achmad said. Arina married the man suspected as Noordin several years ago, after her parents arranged it. She describes him as a gentle person, though he seldom stays at home, the lawyer said. Noordin is thought to be the mastermind behind several bombing campaigns in Indonesia during the past decade, including the latest Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings, which killed nine and wounded more than 50. It was the first major terrorist attack in Indonesia in more than three years.
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He is the suspected leader of a small Jemaah Islamiyah splinter group. The group has ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network, but there has been no claim of responsibility for the latest attack. Noordin is reportedly an officer, recruiter, bomb-maker and trainer for the group, which was involved in a previous attack on the Marriott — in August 2003 — as well as attacks on a Bali nightclub in 2003 and the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004, according to the FBI.