SEPANG, Oct 24 – Three men, including an architect, were charged at the Sessions Court here yesterday with attempting to provide support to the terrorist Islamic State (IS) group. The trio are the first Malaysians to be hauled up to court for their alleged intention to join IS.
Architect Mohd Syafrein Rasid and technician Mohamad Yusoffe Ishak, both 26, and trader Mohd Rosmadi Che Daud, 42, were accused of trying to join IS by attempting to board an Istanbul-bound Qatar Airways flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here. The three men allegedly committed the offence at the Immigration counter of KLIA’s Departure Hall at 8.55am on Sept 25.
They were also charged with an alternative count of trying to benefit IS by taking the same flight. Police nabbed them at KLIA on the same day. Syafrein, Yusoffe and Rosmadi indicated that they understood the charges read to them before judge Aizatul Akmal Maharani yesterday. No plea was recorded. They could be jailed up to 15 years or fined if convicted under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code.
Any of their items purportedly used to commit the offence may also be confiscated if they are found guilty. Deputy public prosecutor Shukor Abu Bakar urged the court to deny the trio bail, as persons charged with a security offence were not eligible for bail under Section 13(1) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. He also applied for the case to be transferred to the High Court.
Aizatul Akmal denied the accused bail and fixed Nov 20 for mention to transfer the case to the High Court. The three accused were not represented. Special Branch Counter-terrorism Division principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told the New Straits Times that since February last year, the division had nabbed 40 people, who were allegedly involved in IS-related activities.
“These individuals were suspected of planning to join the terrorist group, as well as recruiting and conducting militant training in preparation to go to Syria to fight for IS.” Ayob Khan said among the 40 suspects, 13 had been charged. Eleven were charged under the Penal Code for offences related to terrorism, while two were charged under the Firearms Act. “Fifteen of them are under police investigation, while 12 have been released due to the lack of evidence for conviction.”