First Al-Qaeda member in Malaysia gets 12 years’ jail

The first Malaysian to be involved in al-Qaeda has been sentenced to 12 years’ jail by the High Court, for becoming a member and supporting the terrorist group. — Reuters pic
The first Malaysian to be involved in al-Qaeda has been sentenced to 12 years’ jail by the High Court, for becoming a member and supporting the terrorist group. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31— The first person to be involved in al-Qaeda in Malaysia was sentenced to 12 years’ jail by the High Court here today, for supporting the terrorist group and becoming its member.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah passed the sentenced after Mohamad Hidayat Azman, 20, a college student in Cairo, Egypt, pleaded guilty to supporting al-Qaeda terrorist group (Jund al-Aqsa).

He said the offence was serious and public interest in the terrorist group should be taken into account before passing the sentence.

“Based on basic code of values in society, what you did is despicable and condemned by the Malaysian society and the world community.

Therefore, the court sentenced you to 12 years’ jail from the date of arrest (Dec 7, 2015) and the case items are forfeited after the expiry of appeal,” he told the accused who appeared calm throughout the proceedings.

Mohamad Shariff said the violence ideology could threaten world security and his action would give birth to an international terrorist network, especially in Malaysia.

“If you really want to become a martyr, remember the hopes of your parents and siblings who gave money for you studies. Tell your friends that your action is not ‘jihad’, but a total loss.” Mohamad Hidayat, of Parit Buntar, Perak was charged with being a member of the group, by taking a flight from KL International Airport (KLIA), Sepang to Syria between Sept 5, 2014 and Sept 1, 2015.

He was charged under Section 130J (1)(a) of the Penal Code and can be jailed for life or not more than 30 years or a fine, and forfeiture of any property that was used or intended to be used for committing the offence.

The court heard that in early Sept 2014, Mohyamad Hidayat pursued studies at Markas Lisan Salam in Cairo, Egypt after following developments in Syria through Facebook, which raised the spirit of ‘jihad’ within him.

He then contacted a Syrian via Facebook to find out how to enter Syria and later took a flight to Hatay, Turkey, to enter Syria.

While at Ajnad camp in Hama, Syria, Mohamad Hidayat underwent military training such as the assembling of AK 47 rifle and horse riding.

After two weeks in Hama, he went to Idlip, Syria, to join Jund Al Aqsa, a group under al-Qaeda and underwent military training including how to use anti-tank weapons.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor of Serious Crimes Unit, Noor Syazwani Mohamad Sobry urged te court to consider the seriousness of the offence and not only the accused’s young age.

Meanwhile, defence counsel Faizal Rahman urged the court to consider the accused was only 18 year-old when committing the offence and had repented. — Bernama

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