Singaporean jailed for 30 months for funding terrorism

Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman arriving at court in a police armoured vehicle yesterday. He was arrested in July last year and detained under the Internal Security Act as he was found to be radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence i
Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman arriving at court in a police armoured vehicle yesterday. He was arrested in July last year and detained under the Internal Security Act as he was found to be radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence in Syria in support of ISIS. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

35-year-old man transferred about $1,145 in 2016 to a radical preacher living in Jamaica

A 35-year-old former information technology engineer was sentenced yesterday to two years and six months in jail for funding terrorism.

Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman is the first Singaporean national to be sentenced for terrorism financing.

Yesterday, Ahmed pleaded guilty in a district court to two charges in connection with two payments he made amounting to about $1,145 in total to an individual who was "facilitating terrorist acts" overseas.

The court heard that Ahmed had become radicalised some time in 2013 after he came to know of the website and YouTube channel of Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, a radical preacher living in Jamaica.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chong Yonghui said Ahmed was aware that the preacher supported physical jihad, including the use of violence against "intruders", who were described as "non-Muslims attacking a Muslim area or location".

The preacher also said it was an obligation for Muslims to set up a Muslim caliphate, and commended the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for doing this through violence.

Ahmed agreed with the preacher's religious ideology and reached out to him, said DPP Chong. The duo communicated via Facebook, e-mail and the messaging app WhatsApp.

Ahmed then discovered he could donate money to the preacher, and did so in July 2016 by transferring $1,059 to a "Patrick Gray", who was collecting donations on the man's behalf.

The second sum of US$62 (S$85) was transferred to the preacher's wife on Sept 3 that year.

Ahmed was arrested by the Internal Security Department in July last year, and was detained under the Internal Security Act as he was found to be radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence in Syria in support of ISIS.

"The present facts highlight starkly the dangers of terrorist propaganda and its insidious far-reaching effects," said DPP Chong, who called for a deterrent sentence.

 
 
 
 

"It cannot be overstated that the funding of terrorist propaganda which preaches violent religious ideology must be clamped down upon unequivocally," he added.

"In so doing, Singapore continues to fulfil her duty as a member of the global community in the unending fight against terrorism."

Ahmed, who was not represented, pleaded for leniency, adding that he had a mother who has dementia and a young son. He told the court that he wants to be a good citizen of Singapore upon his release.

For terrorism financing, Ahmed could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined $500,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline 'Singaporean jailed for 30 months for funding terrorism'. Print Edition | Subscribe