Singapore Businessman Faces Trial For Transferring S$1,000 to Syria-Based Islamic State Militants

A Singaporean businessman was charged on Monday, with providing about S$1,000 to an Islamic State militant for facilitating terrorist operations in Syria.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) informed that 50-year-old Mohamed Kazali Salleh was arrested by Malaysian Special Branch officers in December 2018. He was then deported to Singapore and handed to the Internal Security Department in January 2019 for investigations into his terrorism-related activities, reported Singapore newspaper TODAY.

Involvement of Syria-based Islamic State Militant

Kazali was also subject to a detention order under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for his support of Isis. He is accused of giving a total of about S$1,000 over three occasions to Syria-based Islamic State militant Malaysian Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, who is "believed to be the most senior ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) fighter in Syria" prior to his reported death in March 2019, said MHA.

Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, known as Akel. MHA said Kazali was a "close associate" of Akel Zainal.

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Representational Image Reuters

What Does the Investigation Reveal?

An investigation by the Singapore Police Force found that Kazali allegedly provided money to Akel over three occasions in 2013 and 2014.

Based on charge sheets, Kazali allegedly handed over the cash at a bus terminal in Johor Baru, Malaysia, and transferred the sums via financial services firm Western Union's branches in Singapore and Malaysia.

Kazali purportedly wanted these funds to be used to facilitate terrorist acts in Syria, reported TODAY.

Providing money in support of terrorist purposes is a serious offence under Singapore's Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act. If convicted, the detention order against Kazali will be cancelled and he will serve the sentence imposed by the court.

Terrorist (Representational Picture) Pixabay

To prevent him from spreading his radical ideas to other inmates, he would be held separately and continue being rehabilitated while serving his sentence, MHA said.

"An assessment will be made at the end of his sentence whether he has been successfully rehabilitated or remains a threat to society. If he remains a threat, he may be detained further under the ISA."

'Terrorism- A Grave Threat to Domestic and International Security'

MHA described terrorism and terrorism financing as grave threats to domestic and international security, adding that global action was needed to deprive terrorist groups of funding and materials.

"Singapore is part of this global effort and is strongly committed to combating terrorism financing, regardless of whether the monies are used to facilitate terrorist acts locally or abroad," it said.

What is Singapore's Internal Security Act?

The Internal Security Act (ISA) of Singapore is a statute that grants the executive power to enforce preventive detention, prevent subversion, suppress organized violence against persons and property, and do other things incidental to the internal security of Singapore.

In June 2021, a Singaporean housewife was detained under the ISA after an "escalation" in her radical behavior. Her husband, Malaysian Mohd Firdaus Kamal Intdzam, was arrested and repatriated from Singapore in August last year for supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

The housewife, Ruqayyah Ramliwas previously issued with a restriction order after she was found to have been radicalized by her husband, reported CNA. She supported ISIS's violent actions and believes in the use of violence against the perceived enemies of Islam.

Related topics : Singapore crime