4 Bangladeshis detained under ISA last month found guilty of financing terrorism; 2 others deny charges

The four Bangladeshi workers who pleaded guilty are (from left) ringleader Rahman Mizanur, 31; Miah Rubel, 26; Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 31; and Sohel Hawlader Ismail Hawlader, 29. PHOTOS: MHA
The armoured trucks transporting the five Bangladeshi workers en route to the State Courts. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Four Bangladeshi workers detained last month under the Internal Security Act (ISA) were found guilty on Tuesday (May 31) of financing terrorism.

The four are Rahman Mizanur, 31; Miah Rubel, 26; Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 31; and Sohel Hawlader Ismail Hawlader, 29. All pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday.

They were charged last Friday with providing or collecting money to fund terrorist acts in Bangladesh.

The four were part of a group of six charged under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA) - this is the first time the Act has been used for prosecution.

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The other two - Zzaman Daulat, 34 and Mamun Leakot Ali, 29 - have denied the charges. A pre-trial conference for them has been set for June 9.

Court documents show that the men had clearly defined roles. They were led by Rahman, with Mamun as the group's deputy leader.

Miah was in the group's financial council, while Jabath handled the group's media.

Zzaman and Sohel were in the group's security and fighter councils respectively.

Miah and Jabath were also accused of possessing money for terrorist purposes.

Court documents show that Jabath was in possession of $1,360 - this includes a sum of $1,060 that he was handed by Miah last month.

In all, the six had contributed sums of $60 to $500 to the cause.

The six were among eight men arrested between late March and early last month. Working in the marine and construction industries, they called themselves the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB).

They were planning attacks back home in hopes of toppling their government.

Their goal was to set up an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In the statement of facts presented to the court, Rahman was said to have been radicalised in Bangladesh in April 2015 after meeting with a fellow Bangladeshi man, identified as a Jahangir Alam.

The documents also show that Rahman, who came to Singapore to work in December 2015, met Miah, Zzaman and another Bangladeshi, Sohag Ibrahim, 27, in January this year at a HDB void deck in Sembawang, where he convinced them to join ISIS.

Sohag was among the group of eight detained under the ISA.

The group took shape over subsequent meetings in February and March, and the other members were recruited.

The documents also show that the men had discussed "waging an armed jihad", and that they would find and kill non-believers when they returned to Bangladesh.

They agreed that money was needed for their campaign, to buy food, firearms and knives, and the group agreed that they would contribute part of their salary to the cause.

Prosecution sought a three-week adjournment to prepare submissions for sentencing. The four men are expected to appear in court on June 21.

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