Malaysia jails woman 8 years for intending to travel to Syria for terrorism

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - A Malaysian woman was sentenced to eight years jail by the High Court on Friday (Nov 24) after she pleaded guilty to attempting to travel to Syria last year to commit terrorist acts.

Nur Afiqah Farhanah Che Samsudim, 26, was ordered to serve the sentence from April 4 this year, the date she was arrested.

When handing down the sentence, Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak said it was fortunate that she was apprehended at the Syrian border, adding that had she entered the republic, her fate would be unknown.

"The real jihad (holy war) is for oneself and one's own family, how to be a true Muslim. The court sympathises with the accused over her difficult life, but going to Syria is not a solution, he said.

He advised Nur Afiqah Farhanah, who was crying in the dock, to be remorseful and return to live with her mother after serving her jail time.

Nur Afiqah Farhanah, who is unemployed, was charged with intending to go to Syria to commit terrorist acts, by travelling from Malaysia to Singapore and then to Turkey on Aug 29, 2016.

The offence is punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years, and a fine.

In mitigation, her lawyer, Mohd Hezri Shaharil, said his client had repented and was remorseful.

She lost her father at the age of 17 and befriended a man, who became her lover, but he died in 2014. She became depressed and often cried at his grave.

She then married the man's younger brother, but the marriage lasted only two months because he was a drug addict.

She then continued her studies in medicine before befriending another man in Syria through a social media site. The man then invited her to Syria so that they could get married and she agreed, he said.

According to the facts of the case, the woman had sold her Perodua Myvi car for RM5,000 (S$1,635) to pay for her passage to Turkey. Before leaving, she had written a letter to her mother to inform her that she was migrating to Syria and that she would have a martyr's death.

She arrived in Istanbul on Aug 30, 2016 and stayed there for a few months before she was arrested by the Turkish authorities on Feb 9 this year at the border between Turkey and Syria.

On April 4, 2017, she was deported to Malaysia and was arrested by police at the airport.