Man claims son met Malaysian terror suspect, but didn’t know of al-Qaeda links

Yesterday, the prosecution said Yazid had started the terrorist group Tanzim al-Qaeda. — File pic
Yesterday, the prosecution said Yazid had started the terrorist group Tanzim al-Qaeda. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Mohd Razif Mohd Ariff knew a Malaysian currently on trial for being a suspected terrorist, but the latter never spoke about his al-Qaeda-linked group, the former man’s father testified today.

The father, Mohd Ariff Abdullah, was testifying as the prosecution’s fifth witness in a terrorism trial against two Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) detainees Yazid Sufaat and Muhammad Hilmi Hasim.

Mohd Ariff confirmed today that Muhammad Hilmi had visited his son at their house, saying that the two had likely been acquainted due to their work together as contract workers.

“Yes, I’ve met Hilmi. Met at my house,” the 65-year-old retiree and father of four said as he identified him in court, saying however that he has not met Yazid.

Muhammad Hilmi had known his son for “months” before the latter was detained in Lebanon for allegedly being part of an “armed organisation”, Mohd Ariff said.

Mohd Ariff confirmed that Muhammad Hilmi did not act in a suspicious manner during the visits to his house, also saying the latter had “never” spoke of “armed organisations”.

“Never. Never heard,” he said of the purported terrorist group Tanzim al-Qaeda Malaysia, drawing loud laughter from both Yazid and Muhammad Hilmi who were seated in the dock.

Later, Mohd Ariff shook his head when asked if his son and Muhammad Hilmi had ever spoken about Tanzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia, also saying that he “can’t confirm” whether the purported group exists.

Mohd Ariff said Muhammad Hilmi was usually in the living room with his son, saying that the latter came with food and watched football matches or television together.

Yesterday, the prosecution said Yazid had started the terrorist group Tanzim al-Qaeda.

The court also heard evidence yesterday that Mohd Razif had bought flight tickets with another Malaysian male Muhamad Razin Sharhan Mustafa Kamal for a round trip from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul, Turkey for the period of October 3, 2012 to December 3, 2012.

Mohd Razif and Muhamad Razin Sharhan were previously reported as being suspected suicide bombers who were arrested at Lebanon’s Beirut airport in October 2012 and subsequently charged at a military court there.

The duo were accused of being part of the al-Qaeda group and of attempting to go to Syria to launch suicide attacks.

Former army captain Yazid is accused of knowingly encouraging terrorist acts with the intention to promote an ideological purpose that is intended to threaten the public in Syria, while his cafeteria assistant Muhammad Hilmi was charged with abetting him in doing so.

They were charged under Section 130G(a) of the Penal Code, which covers the offence of inciting and promoting the commission of a terrorist act and carries a maximum 30-year jail term and fine.

Yazid and Hilmi were also charged under Section 130KA of the Penal Code with being members of a terrorist group — Tanzim al-Qaeda Malaysia — with those convicted of this offence liable to a maximum of life imprisonment and a fine.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin resumes this afternoon.

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