Malaysian Woman Charged for Trying to Join IS

KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian woman who tried to join the outlawed Islamic State movement by marrying one of its militants was charged in court yesterday with supporting terrorism.

Ummi Kalsom Bahak was charged before the Sepang Sessions Court for allegedly offering to support the Islamic State by attempting to board an Istanbul-bound AirAsia flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Oct 5 to marry one of its members, Aqif Huessin Rahaizat, and become part of the group.

The 25-year-old assistant credit controller also faces an alternative charge of attempting to enter Syria to support the Islamic State by marrying Mr Aqif.

She was alleged to have committed the offence at the same place and time.

Ummi nodded her head as a sign that she understood the charge that had been read to her before Sessions Court judge Aizatul Akmal Maharani.

However, no plea was recorded. If found guilty under either charge, she faces a penalty of not more than half of the maximum jail term of 30 years to life imprisonment. The court can also impose a fine and order the seizure of any assets believed to be linked with the offence.

Ummi, who was unrepresented, was not allowed bail as she had been arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.

Judge Aizatul set a Nov 20 mention date for the case to be transferred to the High Court. It is understood that Ummi is the first woman in Malaysia to be charged in connection with the Islamic State, but is not the first woman to be arrested under Sosma.

That dubious distinction goes to Halimah Hussein, 52, who, with former Internal Security Act detainee Yazid Sufaat and cafeteria worker Muhammad Hilmi Hasim, were the first to be detained under the Act on charges of promoting and abetting terrorist activities in Syria.

On May 20, the Kuala Lumpur High Court acquitted and discharged all three from the charges on the ground that Sosma was beyond the powers of the federal constitution, which deals with subversion and action prejudicial to public order, among other matters.

The Court of Appeal, however, overturned the Lower Court’s ruling — a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court — and they will have to stand trial over the terrorism charges.

Halimah, however, has since jumped bail and the police have yet to locate her whereabouts.

The Malaysian police said on Oct 15 that they had detained 14 Muslims suspected of being linked with the Islamic State. Those detained included a trio believed to be leaders of a cell responsible for recruiting, sponsoring and sending Malaysians to fight in Syria. The detentions bring the number of people in Malaysia held for suspected militant links to 36 since April.



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