(File pix) A 36-year-old medical assistant was sentenced to three years in prison today for possessing Islamic State (IS) related items.

KUALA LUMPUR: A 36-year-old medical assistant was sentenced to three years in prison today for possessing Islamic State (IS) related items.

Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak meted out the sentence against Mohd Khairul Azhar Hasan, who pleaded guilty to the charge at the High Court here.

Khairul Azhar, a father of four children, was accused of sharing IS-related material on social media earlier this year.

He allegedly committed the offence through his Facebook account under the name, ‘Khairulazhar Hassan’ at Level 24, E8 Special Branch Division in Bukit Aman here, at 12.20 pm on April 3.

He was charged under Section 130JB(1)(a) of the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum seven years’ imprisonment or a fine and liable to forfeiture of assets related to the offence.

It is understood Khairul began showing his support for IS after taking an interest in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

It is also understood that Khairul donated between RM50 and RM150 a month to Syria through a local non-governmental organisation since three years ago.

Khairul Azhar’s lawyer, Mohd Hezri Shaharil, when pleading for leniency, said his client was remorseful and promised not to make the same mistake.

“My client never had the chance to fulfil his duty as a father to his four-month old child. He is the sole breadwinner for his family,” he told the court.

Hezri said this was Khairul Azhar’s first offence, and that his client urged the public not to engage with unknown groups that claimed to assist people in war-torn countries.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Mohd Izhanudin Alias said strict punishment must be meted out against the accused.

“The court must consider the nature and the seriousness of the crime as it could destabilise the country,” he said, adding that a deterrent sentence must be handed down as it involved public interest.

Mohd Sofian when delivering his judgment said the accused, who served in the public sector, should avoid from getting involved in terror-related offences.

“There is a tendency for the accused to go to Syria and become an IS fighter.

“I hope you will be a better person after serving your jail sentence,” he said, adding that Khairul Azhar’s prison term would run from the date of his arrest on March 12.

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