Singapore sends two Indonesian maids to prison for financially supporting ISIS-linked boyfriends

'Singapore cannot be seen as a springboard for assistance to terrorist groups,' the judge said while announcing his ruling

A Singaporean court sent two Indonesian maids to jail, over terror-financing on Wednesday, February 12. The duo was accused of sending money to their boyfriends, whom they met online. The two men, who had promised marriage to the two maids, are reported of being affiliated to the global proscribed terror group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

What did the judgement say?

Islamic State.
Islamic State. IANS

After hearing from both women, District Judge Christopher Tan pronounced his judgement. One woman has been jailed for three years and nine months, the other will face a prison term of 18 months. While pronouncing his judgement, the judge iterated that offence of foreigners sending money back to their home countries to finance terrorism was hard to detect, even with technological advances, South China Morning Post reported.

"Given these conditions, if you do catch (a perpetrator), a stiff message has to be sent out to show that this is not acceptable", he added. "The consideration is that once (cases) take on a translational element, it impinges on the reputation of Singapore (which) cannot be seen as a springboard for assistance to terrorist groups".

Their online boyfriends promised to marry them

Both the maids hadn't met their boyfriends, in person, while the men promised them marriage. One woman named Retno Hernayani (36) met Fikri Zulfikar, through another Indonesian woman. Fikri is an ISIS sympathizer who introduced her to ISIS' material.

Both were in constant touch over video calls, from April 2018 till she was detained on August 20, 2019, by the Internal Security Department. Fikri had even set up a mineral water business with her and had visited her village at Lampung on Sumatra to gain the confidence of her family. Both planned to get married in December 2019.

Retno sent $29 of her own money and $72 collected from three other maids. She sent money while being fully aware that her money could be used to fund 'jihad' (Islamic holy war). She sent the fund while knowing that it could be used for violent causes, such as buying bullets, rifles, grenades and bombs to fight against "enemies of Islam" and to send fighters into the conflict zones, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Cheng Yuxi told the court. Her boyfriend donated a part of the fund to a purported religious charity called 'Aseer Cruee Centre' (ACC).