Muhammad Yalaludin Mading embraced his wife, then kissed his six children on the cheek one by one as they prepared to leave PJ prison yard on Tuesday afternoon.
Abdul Azi Haji Chiming, who, like Muhammad Yalaludin Mading, was convicted in December 2004 of plotting to attack the US and British embassies in Phnom Penh, also hugged his wife and children, and the two Thai Muslim men then looked on as their relatives were driven away in a white van.
“He is a man who had never cried before, but he cried a lot this time,” said Parida Mading, Muhammad Yalaludin Mading’s 40-year-old wife, after meeting with her husband for 30 minutes for the third time since he was arrested in 2003.
After 20 months behind bars awaiting trial, the two men, along with Cambodian Cham Muslim Sman Esma El, were sentenced to life in prison on terrorism charges after being linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, the militant Islamic group implicated in the Bali bombing of 2002.
Parida Mading said her husband had been taken aback to see his entire family visit him in prison, including his four-year-old son, who he last saw when he was only 11 months old. It was the first time she had brought his children with her.
Abdul Azi Haji Chiming’s 32-year-old wife Ar-Esoh Haji Chiming, who brought the couple’s three children to the jail, said her husband was innocent.
“He did nothing wrong in Cambodia,” she said. “He was not involved in anything.”
The two women said their trips had been paid for by funds raised by their neighbors in southern Thailand.
A Thai Muslim lawyer who declined to be named because of fear for his personal safety escorted the families to the jail.