KOTA KINABALU (23 Ogos) – A 17-year-old local teenager was jailed a total of 13 years by the High Court here, yesterday, for committing three counts of Islamic State (IS)-related terrorism activities.
The boy from Sandakan is the first person in Sabah to be convicted by the High Court for IS-related offences. Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru meted out the sentence after considering all relevant factors adduced before him including the facts that the accused is a 17-year-old during the commission of the offence and that he is a first time offender.
However, the court said, the mitigation factors should be balanced against the enormity of the offence committed. “You may not have gone out of your house and injured somebody but had actively participated in the social media group that promote terrorism acts.
“Your acts have the potential to threaten the security of the public and this case is a serious offence. So it cannot be said that merely using a handphone and participating in chat group is a harmless act. It can be the beginning of a serious terrorist incident.
“This is the reason why the law provides a very heavy sentence, a maximum 30 years’ imprisonment to anybody who lend support to terrorist group or terrorist activity,” he said.
The court further viewed that the recommendation by the probation officer to send the accused to Henry Gurney School cannot be accepted because the accused is already 18 and the offence is very serious.
The charges are giving support to IS terrorist group through his Facebook (FB) and Telegram as well as possessing items associated with the group in his handphone, at a house in Yii Villa Apartment in Jalan Buli Sim-Sim, Sandakan, between December 2015 and August 4, 2016.
The boy received six years imprisonment, each, on the first and second charges of giving support to the IS group and giving support to the commission of a terrorist act, respectively.
The first charge is framed under Section 130 J(1)(a) of the Penal Code, while the second is framed under Section 130 J(1)(b) of the same Code.
Both charges carries life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term not exceeding thirty years, or with a fine, and shall also be liable to forfeiture of any property used or intended to be used in connection with the commission of the offence.
For the third charge, the boy was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for possessing items associated with IS group in his phone.
The offence is framed under Section 130JB (1) (a) of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or with a fine, and shall also be liable to forfeiture of any such item.
The entire custodial sentence was ordered to run concurrently and this means, he will only serve six years’ jail instead of a total of 13 years imprisonment.
Earlier, during mitigation, counsel Jamadi Salleh among others asked for court to consider the accused involvement is only through social media inside his room and not physically involved with the activity.
He said, the accused parents are working and he did not go to school. Further he said, the accused is still young and easy to be influenced.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mohd Izhanudin Alias, in his rebuttal, said the case is very serious and the public interest should be prevailed.
A deterred sentence must be imposed to deter other youngest or would-be offender not to repeat the offence. The accused initially faced five charges. He had pleaded guilty to the three charges at early stage of trial in June, this year.
As for the two other charges, the accused was discharged and acquitted not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) as applied by the prosecution.
The two charges stated that the youth is accused of promoting the commission of a terrorist act and promoting membership in IS group, via Facebook and Telegram, at the same time and place.
Both offences provide imprisonment for a term which may extend to 30 years, and shall also be liable to a fine, upon conviction, under Section 130G of the Penal Code.
Counsel Jamadi was together with counsel Farah Sairah Abd Razak who represented the accused.