Singapore — A 50-year-old businessman who donated money to an Islamic State militant on three separate occasions in 2013 and 2014 faced charges of terror financing on Monday (Jul 19).
Mohamed Kazali Salleh remains detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and made his court appearance via video link.
The businessman intends to enter a guilty plea as well as to procure the services of a lawyer on his own.
He will appear before the court again on Aug 11, and remains in detention with no bail offered, which was the prosecution’s recommendation as they argued his release on bail would be “prejudicial to the security of Singapore.”
Kazali is said to have sent money to a Malaysian man in Syria known as a Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin on three occasions from Dec 2013 to the first part of the following year, for a total amount of around S$1,000.
He handed the money to the IS militant once in person, and the other two times used Western Union in Singapore and Malaysia to transmit the funds to Syria.
The militant was also known as Akel Zainal, and was believed to be the most senior ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) fighter in Syria. He reportedly died in Mar 2019.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Kazali, who had been running his business in Malaysia, had been a “close associate” of Akel Zainal.
Malaysian Special Branch officers arrested Kazali in Dec 2018, and he was deported to Singapore on Jan 7, 2019, where his case has been handled by the Internal Security Department.
In that same month, Kazali was given an Order of Detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) because of his support for the Islamic State.
For each of the three charges of terror financing, Kazali faces a fine of up to $500,000 or a jail sentence of up to ten years, or both, under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
According to a statement from the MHA, “To prevent (Kazali) from spreading his radical ideas to other inmates, he will be held separately, and will continue to undergo rehabilitation whilst serving his prison sentence.
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.” /TISG
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