ISA arrest: MHA explains why Singaporean ISIS supporter was put on Restriction Order

Two Bangladeshi workers suspected of being involved in a pro-ISIS group arriving for their trial in a heavily guarded convoy that included police armoured vehicles on Aug 30, 2016.
Two Bangladeshi workers suspected of being involved in a pro-ISIS group arriving for their trial in a heavily guarded convoy that included police armoured vehicles on Aug 30, 2016. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - The Government has provided further details of the arrest of a Singaporean supporter of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) under the Internal Security Act (ISA), explaining why the 33-year-old was placed under a Restriction Order and not detained.

Asrul Alias, a technician, was placed under a two-year Restriction Order - which curtails his movements and activities - in August after investigations showed he had become radicalised by viewing extremist material such as online religious sermons by radical preachers and videos of ISIS fighters in combat.

"However, as he was not an imminent security threat, he was not detained but given a Restriction Order under the ISA," the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Thursday (Oct 6).

A person who is under a Restriction Order must abide by certain conditions.

For instance, he cannot change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the approval of the Internal Security Department's director.

Whether an individual is detained, placed under a Restriction Order, or is sent for counselling depends on the evidence obtained through investigations and an assessment of the threat he poses, the ministry said. Many who were investigated in the past were not detained but placed under supervision or given counselling, it added.

"Detention is a last resort to be used only when the threat is imminent," it said.

 

In a separate case, Singaporean Mohammad Razif Yahya, 28, was released conditionally from detention under a Suspension Direction this month "after it was assessed that he no longer posed a security threat that required him to be placed in preventive detention".

He had been detained in August last year for voluntarily fighting in Yemen after he began studying at a religious institution there in January 2010.

The ministry said that the decision to release a detainee is based on his progress in his rehabilitation programme, and the assessments of psychologists, Internal Security Department case officers, detention centre wardens and religious counsellors from the Religious Rehabilitation Group.

These factors determine if he continues to pose an imminent threat to Singapore's security.

"The process of assessing whether a detainee is suitable for release from detention is a thorough and stringent one," the ministry said.