Singapore—In the country’s first case of terror financing, 35-year old former IT-engineer Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman received a prison sentence of two years and six months on October 17, Thursday.
In 2016, Mr Ahmed had donated the amount of $1,146 to Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, a radical cleric in Jamaica.
He pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with the two donations he had made to the Jamaican preacher, who is said to be “facilitating terrorist acts”.
Mr Ahmed had begun to listen to Sheikh Abdullah’s talks on YouTube in 2013, after which he started becoming radicalized.
According to Chong Yonghui, the Deputy Public Prosecutor, Mr Ahmed knew that Sheik Abdullah was a supporter of jihad “including the use of violence against ‘intruders’ who were described as ‘non-Muslims attacking a Muslim area or location’”.
Sheikh Abdullah had also preached that Muslims are duty-bound to establish a Muslim caliphate. He praised ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) for accomplishing this through violent means.
Mr Ahmed established a correspondence with the cleric through emails, Facebook and WhatsApp. In July 2016, Mr Ahmed donated $1,059 to Sheikh Abdullah through a man named “Patrick Gray” who was fundraising for the preacher. And then in September d the same year, he transferred US$62 (S$85) to the wife of Sheikh Abdullah.
Upon determining that he had been radicalised and desired to support ISIS through joining the violence in Syria, the Internal Security Department arrested and detained Mr Ahmed under the detained under the Internal Security Act.
DPP Chong called for a deterrent sentence against the Singaporean national, saying, “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.
In so doing, Singapore continues to fulfill her duty as a member of the global community in the unending fight against terrorism.”
The prosecution suggested a jail sentence of 30 months and 18 months jail for the two charges against Mr Ahmed, to be served concurrently.
A jail term, the prosecution said, would send “a strong message to other like-minded individuals that supporting terrorist propaganda through financial means will attract uncompromising punishment.”
For his part, Mr Ahmed, who opted to have no legal representation, has asked for leniency, telling the court of his intent to live as a good citizen when his jail term is over.
At present, he has an infant son and a mother with dementia.
Ng Peng Hong, the district judge, agreed to the prosecution’s proposal of for the jail sentences.
Mr Ahmed could have spent as much as 10 years in jail for terror financing, as well as have been made to pay a fine of as much as $500,000.
Last month, three Indonesian domestic helpers were issued detention orders under the Internal Security Act due to suspicion that they had financed terrorist activities, and in June, a 40-year-old Singaporean who planned to join Syria’s Islamic State was also detained under the ISA. The following month, two Singaporeans who had planned on joining the jihadists were arrested. -/ TISG