Indonesia to deport British woman who married militant

Indonesian authorities have said they plan to deport a British woman married to a slain Indonesian militant because of a visa violation and her alleged link to a hard-line religious group.

Police said Tazneen Miriam Sailar was taken to Jakarta’s immigration detention centre after the country’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre linked her to the religious group Islamic Defenders Front, which was officially outlawed on December 30.

National Police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan said Ms Sailar, a charity fundraiser who grew up in Manchester, converted to Islam when she married a now-deceased Indonesian militant, Asep Ahmad Setiawan, in 2010.

Mr Setiawan, a member of Indonesia’s al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, died in a combat zone in Syria in 2014, Mr Ramadhan said.

The group was blamed for a series of attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

“We are still investigating whether she has a role in terrorist acts,” Mr Ramadhan said.

Ms Sailar’s lawyer, Farid Ghozali, said her client had been a humanitarian activist for disaster victims in Indonesia and abroad since 2005.

“We are only focusing on her immigration offences as she has no terrorism charge,” the lawyer said.

Immigration authorities have been co-ordinating with British diplomats on her deportation, Ahmad Nursaleh, spokesperson for the Directorate General of Immigration, said.

He added that Ms Sailar’s visa had expired two years ago.

Mr Nursaleh did not say when the deportation would occur.

Ms Sailar has a 10-year-old son born in Indonesia.

The British Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.

The politically influential Islam Defenders Front was banned after its leader, Rizieq Shihab, was arrested on charges of inciting people to breach pandemic restrictions by holding events with large crowds.

It wants Islamic Shariah law to apply to all of Indonesia’s 230 million Muslims. The group has gained significant influence in recent years through humanitarian and charity work.

A court banned Jemaah Islamiyah in 2008, and the group was weakened by a sustained crackdown on militants by Indonesia’s counterterrorism police with US and Australian support.

A new threat has emerged in recent years inspired by Islamic State group attacks abroad.

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Categories: deport, Hardline Religious Group, Indonesian authorities, Islamic Defenders Front, News, Tazneen Miriam Sailar