Court overturns acquittal of trio over plot to kidnap Najib

Nor Azmi Jalani, Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof, and Indonesian Ali Saifuddin when they were acquitted in 2017. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today found two ex-soldiers and an Indonesian guilty of planning to kidnap former prime minister Najib Razak and other top leaders, overturning the finding of the trial court two years ago.

Nor Azmi Jalani and Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof, as well as Indonesian Ali Saifuddin, all in their early thirties, were said to be planning to kidnap Najib, his then deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and ministers Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin.

According to evidence, they conspired with a militant, Abu Daud Murad Halimuddin, and had planned to demand ransom in exchange for the freedom of several detainees held under security laws.

Abu Daud was sentenced to 12 years’ jail after his case went to the Federal Court last year.

Today, a three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Vernon Ong Lam Keat allowed the prosecution’s appeal.

“After going through the evidence of the three respondents, we find they did not create a doubt in the prosecution’s case,” Ong said of the unanimous decision.

He said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt even at the close of the defence’s case.

The trio, who were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma, were charged with conspiring to promote terrorism-related activities in Malaysia between Jan 30 and April 6, 2015 at a house in Pengkalan Batu Hampar, Mukim Air Putih, Pendang.

The offence, punishable under Section 120B(1) of the Penal Code, carries a jail term of up to 30 years and a fine.

However, the bench deferred sentencing to April 14 following a request by counsel Syahredzan Johan to allow him more time to prepare his clients’ mitigation.

Jasmee Hameezah Jaafar, Mohd Zin Ibrahim and Azmi Mashud represented the government.

The trio were acquitted by judicial commissioner Ab Karim Ab Rahman, but they were not released pending an appeal by the prosecution.