A grocery store trader who joined a Whatsapp group to talk about military training and becoming a martyr in Syria did not know that it is an offence to join the Islamic State (IS), the High Court was told.
The counsel for Mohd Rosmadi Che Daud, 43, said his motivation was sympathy towards the plight of those affected in Syria and that he was not a terrorist.
The father of six from Kelantan was jailed yesterday for two years after he pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 130J (1) (a) of the Penal Code for supporting a terrorist group.
"He could not just sit by and watch the slaughter of humans in Syria. He did not know that it was an offence to support IS. He joined what he believed was a humanitarian cause," said Arik Zakri Abdul Kadir.
Mohd Rosmadi had earlier admitted to attempting to board an Istanbul-bound Qatar Airways flight at the KL International Airport at about 8:55am on Sept 25 to support and benefit IS.
As it was only an attempt, he was faced with not more than half of the maximum 30-year jail sentence provided under the charge.
Mohd Rosmadi, along with two others, are believed to be among the first Malaysians to be charged for links to IS.
The other two - architect Mohd Syafrein Rasid, 26, from Kuantan and engineer Mohamad Yusoffe Ishak, 26, from Arau - had claimed trial to the same charges at another mention of the case in the High Court.
According to court documents, Mohd Rosmadi had started logging on to Facebook between March and April last year under the name "Usamah Madi", showing interest in the unrest in Syria and other areas in the Middle East.