KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The High Court sentenced former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Yazid Sufaat and colleague Muhammad Hilmi Hasim, to seven years in jail today after both pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of omitting information relating to terrorist acts.
The duo were originally charged with promoting the commission of terrorist acts and being members of a terrorist group under Section 130G(a) of the Penal Code, which 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 prosecution later withdrew the two original charges after the two men agreed to accept the alternative charge.
High Court judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin sentenced the duo to carry out the maximum penalty from February 7, 2013 when they were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).
“We have always maintained our innocence. The original charges against us are baseless and the use of Sosma was an abuse of process. There is no evidence against us. We do not promote the commission of terrorist acts nor are we members of Tanzim al-Qaeda,” Yazid said in a statement.
The alternative charge, which was presented today, was in accordance to Section 130M of the Penal Code, which carries a jail sentence up to seven years, or a fine, or both if convicted.
Lawyer New Sin Yew who acted for Yazid said the defence had called on the prosecution to drop the charges following a cross examination of the latter’s star witness that had provided evidence of Yazid and Hilmi’s innocence of the initial charges.
“The evidence was exculpatory of the accused persons and thereafter the defence made a representation that the charges be dropped,” New told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Yazid, a former army captain, was initially 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 was charged with abetment.
Yazid had been released from a seven-year ISA detention on November 28, 2008.