Singaporean charged over allegedly helping fund ISIS propaganda

A man who allegedly provided money to support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) propaganda efforts yesterday became the first Singaporean to be charged under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.

A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) statement said investigations found that Imran Kassim, 35, had provided $450 to an individual in Turkey on Oct 31, 2014, for the publication of ISIS propaganda.

Providing money in support of terrorist purposes - regardless of the amount - is a serious offence under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, said MHA.

A former managing director of a logistics company, Imran has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since August 2017, and was issued with a detention order for intending to undertake armed violence overseas.

MHA said the detention order against Imran will be cancelled if he is convicted, and he will serve the prison term imposed by the court.

He will be held separately to prevent him from spreading his radical ideas to other inmates, and continue to undergo rehabilitation while serving his prison sentence, the ministry added.

"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," said MHA.

Imran had tried to make his way to Syria at least twice, and was so deeply radicalised that he was prepared to attack Singapore Armed Forces troops deployed in the global coalition against ISIS, or hold them as hostages to demand ransom from the Government, MHA had said in 2017 after his arrest.

He had also harboured intentions of joining pro-ISIS militants in Marawi who were battling Philippine forces.

In May 2016, six Bangladeshi workers who worked in the construction or marine industries became the first to be charged under the Act, which was passed in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the foiled Jemaah Islamiah plot in Singapore, both in 2001.

Anyone convicted of providing property and services for terrorist purposes may be jailed up to 10 years and fined up to $500,000.

MHA said that as an active member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Singapore fully subscribes to its standards. The Republic's regime to combat terrorist financing is in line with those standards, the ministry added.

Singapore has been a member of the FATF, a global watchdog against international financial crime, since 1992.

In November last year, Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said that MHA had considered international norms set by the FATF in proposing amendments to the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.

The Act was updated then, with harsher penalties for individuals and corporations with a high level of culpability in not reporting terrorism-financing offences.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'Singaporean charged over allegedly helping fund ISIS propaganda'. Print Edition | Subscribe