Singapore man on trial for terrorism financing admits to sending money to Isis

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient
Comments Off on Singapore man on trial for terrorism financing admits to sending money to Isis

The first Singaporean to be charged with terrorism financing began his trial in a district court on Monday by admitting to giving S$450 (US$330) to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis), but claimed trial for his actions because he did not recognise Singapore law.

Imran Kassim, a 36-year-old former managing director of logistics firm Novo Logistics, faces one charge under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.

He is accused of remitting the money on October 31, 2014, through Western Union to a man in Turkey, known as Mohamad Alsaied Almidan, to publish Isis propaganda.

Imran’s trial in open court is the first of its kind in Singapore. Another Singaporean was jailed last year, after a closed-door hearing, for giving more than S$1,000 (US$740) to a Jamaican preacher who had been imprisoned for stirring racial hatred.

Imran will return to court on Tuesday for District Judge Seah Chi-Ling’s verdict. If convicted of the offence of providing property and services for terrorist purposes, he could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000 (US$370,000) or both.

Imran has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since August 2017. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earlier said that he had been radicalised by violent Isis propaganda and had tried to travel to Syria at least twice in 2014 and 2015 to join the group.

The MHA also said he pledged allegiance to Isis’ self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in July 2014.

The only thing I will do is I admit I did the transfer and did it to benefit Islamic State.

The only thing I will do is I admit I did the transfer and did it to benefit Islamic State.

Imran Kassim

Imran Kassim

According to the ministry, he further admitted that he was prepared to attack Singaporean soldiers deployed in the global coalition against Isis, or hold them as hostages to “demand ransom” from the Singapore government to help boost the group’s finances.

Imran also sought to galvanise support for Isis online, such as by sharing propaganda via various social media accounts that he held under different personas, the ministry said. His radical and pro-militant views caught the attention of people close to him, who then reported him to the authorities, said the MHA.

On Monday, Imran appeared in the courtroom handcuffed and dressed in a purple jumpsuit, with a skullcap pulled over his eyes. The cap was removed by guards once he was in the dock.

He told District Judge Seah that he would claim trial instead of pleading guilty, saying: “I don’t recognise Singapore laws, only sharia [Islamic] law … The only thing I will do is I admit I did the transfer and did it to benefit Islamic State.”

The prosecution produced evidence in the form of Western Union records of the transfer, with Imran’s handwriting and signature, as well as several statements taken from Imran by the Commercial Affairs Department.

Imran told the court that they were taken voluntarily and he did not challenge them. When asked if he wanted to testify in his defence, he responded that he had “nothing to say”, repeating that he “made the transfer and did it to benefit Islamic State”.

In his closing submissions, he argued that he transferred a “pretty small amount” and gave another reason for doing so – to protest “Singapore’s participation in the war against Isis”.

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