KUALA LUMPUR - A man charged with being a terrorist sympathiser started crying in the dock, saying he felt sorry for the war-torn state of Syria.
Grocery shop trader Mohd Rosmadi Che Daud was charged in the High Court here with taking a Qatar Airways flight to Istanbul, Turkey, to support the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group by becoming a member of the organisation.
The alleged offence occurred at the Immigration counter of the international departure lounge at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 8.55am on Sept 25.
Mohd Rosmadi had originally pleaded guilty to the charge, prompting DPP Wan Shahruddin Wan Ladin to read out the statement of facts.
The statement of facts told of how Mohd Rosmadi first came in contact with IS through Facebook about the conflict in Syria.
He is alleged to have started communicating with the terrorist group through Whatsapp messaging and even planned to go to a military training camp in Syria.
However, he was arrested in KLIA while attempting to board the flight under an alias.
While being read the statement of facts, Mohd Rosmadi clarified that he did not mean to join IS and was only sympathetic to the plight of the citizens of Syria.
“It was supposed to be on an aid mission, like those to Palestine. I never meant to join IS,” he added.
High Court judge Kamardin Hashim asked the accused why he then needed to go all the way to Syria if he felt sympathy for its citizens.
“When Muslims kill each other, any person, myself, other Malaysians, anyone on earth would feel sympathy.
“But why would you travel there to help?” he asked.
Due to the disagreement with the statement of facts, Justice Kamardin refused to accept the guilty plea.
Meanwhile, two other men were also charged before the same court with similar accusations of supporting IS.
Architect Mohd Syafrein Rasid, 26, and technician Mohamad Yusoffe Ishak, 26, were charged with taking a Qatar Airways flight to Istanbul to support IS by joining the organisation.
The duo also faced an alternate charge of trying to benefit IS by attempting to enter Syria by way of Istanbul.
They claimed trial to all charges, which were being read for the first time in the High Court.
On Oct 23, the three men were charged separately at the Sepang court. The offences under Section 130J of the Penal Code carry a jail term of up to 30 years, a fine or seizure of any assets that were intended to be used in the course of the offence.
DPP Wan Shahruddin applied for the three cases to be heard together and asked for three months to prepare for the case.
Mohd Rosmadi’s counsel Arik Zakri Abdul Kadir did not object to the application.
The court denied bail and fixed March 31 for next mention.