High Court to deliberate, fixes May 2 as judgement day for post-grad student Siti Noor Aishah

Shanti Gunaratnam

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has fixed May 2 to deliver its judgement on former post-graduate student Siti Noor Aishah Atam, who is charged with possessing 12 books related to terrorists and terror activities.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah deferred the decision after hearing submissions from both the prosecution and defence.

"I need time to study the case thoroughly before making a decision."

Aishah, who was an Islamic Studies student at a public university, was charged at the Kemaman Magistrate's Court in Terengganu with possession of 12 publications related to terrorism.

She was accused of having in her possession books on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda (AQ) at Lot 1241, Jalan Lapangan Terbang Sura, Dungun, Terengganu, at 12.25pm on March 22, 2016.

The case was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur High court and on September 26, 2016, she was acquitted by Shariff, without having her defence called.

On March 27, 2017, the Court of Appeal overturned Shariff's judgement and instructed Aishah to enter her defence.

Earlier during submissions, Aishah's counsel Kamarulzaman Abdul Wahab said the books, 10 of which were purchased by Aishah, and the other two, which she had photocopied, were supposed to be used for reference in her studies.

"My client was dismissed from Universiti Malaya because she did not enrol for her second semester of her post-graduate studies as she had financial difficulties. This was in 2014 and she had the intention to appeal her dismissal from the public university but she was arrested in 2016.

"She was in possession of books that are sold openly. My client had no knowledge that the content of the books were related to terrorists or terror activities."

The court also heard through deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam that Aishah knew the books were on terrorist and terror activities.

Mustaffa said Aishah was friendly with former militant trainer Muamar Gadaffi Mohamad Shafawi, who was jailed five years in February 2016 by the High Court for terror related activities, and lecturer turned militant, Dr Mahmud Ahmad, who is currently in the Philippines.

"The accused also had plans to travel to Thailand with Muamar Gadaffi and later to Syria which her family did not grant permission to. She had threatened to commit suicide if she was not allowed to go to Syria for jihad."