Singapore hands out first jail term for terror financing

Singapore has jailed its first suspect for terror financing amid a steady stream of arrests related to support for Islamic extremism.

The Singaporean authorities have warned that the crowded island republic is a prime target for an attack.

IT specialist Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman received a sentence of 2½ years.

Providing property and services for terrorist purposes can bring jail terms of up to 10 years and fined up to S$500,000.

In 2016, Ahmed donated US$840 to Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, a Jamaica-based Islamist cleric.

He admitted making two donations to the imam after listening to Faisal’s speeches on YouTube in 2013.

Prosecutors say Ahmed knew Faisal was a supporter of jihad “including the use of violence against ‘intruders’ who were described as ‘non-Muslims attacking a Muslim area or location’”.

The authorities said Ahmed wanted to undertake violence in Syria in support of Islamic State.

Faisal claimed Muslims are obligated to establish a Muslim caliphate and praised Isis for its violence.

He was jailed for nine years in the UK in 2003 after calling for the murders of non-Muslims and was deported to his native Jamaica after four years in prison.

He is under constant monitoring by the Jamaican Special Branch and

is banned by the Islamic Council of Jamaica from preaching in mosques.

Ahmed, 35, was in touch with the preacher through email, Facebook and WhatsApp. In July 2016, Ahmed donated to Faisal through a middleman called “Patrick Gray” who was fundraising for the preacher. Later that year he transferred US$62 to Faisal’s wife.

Singapore’s Internal Security Department arrested Ahmed under the Internal Security Act.

Prosecutor Chong Yonghui called for a sentence to be issued as a deterrent. “The present facts highlight starkly the dangers of terrorist propaganda and its insidious far-reaching effects.

“It cannot be overstated that the funding of terrorist propaganda which preaches violent religious ideology must be clamped down upon unequivocally,” Chong said.

“In so doing, Singapore continues to fulfil her duty as a member of the global community in the unending fight against terrorism.”

A custodial sentence sent “a strong message to other like-minded individuals that supporting terrorist propaganda through financial means will attract uncompromising punishment”, Chong added.

Ahmed chose to have no legal representation. He told the court he would live as a good citizen after his release.

The IT engineer has an infant son and a mother with dementia.

In September three Indonesian domestic helpers were given detention orders under the Internal Security Act due to suspicion that they had financed terrorism. In June, a 40-year-old Singaporean who reportedly planned to join Isis in Syria was arrested under the act. Two more Singaporeans were arrested in July under the same charges.

Singapore could use “terror” fears to clamp down on civil liberties. Picture credit: Wikimedia