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2.5 years’ jail for first S’porean convicted of terrorism financing; gave over S$1,000 to foreign radical

SINGAPORE — A 35-year-old man became the first Singaporean to be convicted of terrorism financing here, and he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ jail on Thursday (Oct 17) for giving more than S$1,000 to a Jamaican preacher who had been imprisoned for stirring racial hatred.

A flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) hangs among electrical wires. Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman had been radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence in Syria in support of the terrorist group.

A flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) hangs among electrical wires. Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman had been radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence in Syria in support of the terrorist group.

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SINGAPORE — A 35-year-old man became the first Singaporean to be convicted of terrorism financing here, and he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ jail on Thursday (Oct 17) for giving more than S$1,000 to a Jamaican preacher who had been imprisoned for stirring racial hatred.

Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman pleaded guilty to two charges under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.

In a closed-door hearing on Thursday, a district court heard that Hussein was detained under the Internal Security Act in August last year. He had been radicalised and wanted to undertake armed violence in Syria in support of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis).

A second Singaporean, 35-year-old Imran Kassim, was charged under the Act earlier this year with giving money to support Isis’ propaganda efforts. His trial is set to begin in January next year.

Besides Hussein, a group of six Bangladeshi men have been convicted of terrorism financing. They had set up an Islamic State in Bangladesh cell here in 2016.

COMMUNICATED WITH JAMAICAN PREACHER

Hussein’s path to radicalisation began in 2013 when he began watching online videos of a Jamaican preacher, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal.

The preacher supported the use of violence against “intruders” described as “non-Muslims attacking a Muslim area or location”.

Sheikh also preached that Muslims were obliged to set up an Islamic caliphate and that Isis’ establishment of the caliphate through violence was commendable.

Sheikh had been convicted and jailed for nine years in the United Kingdom in 2003 for — among other things — soliciting the murders of Jews, Americans, Hindus and Christians and using threatening words to stir racial hatred.

During his trial in the UK, tapes of Sheikh’s lectures showed him calling for the death of non-believers, quoting the words of the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and calling for the murder of Jews and bombing of Hindu businesses.

Sheikh was deported to Jamaica after serving four years behind bars, where he is banned from preaching and is constantly monitored.

Despite knowing this, Hussein reached out to the preacher and began communicating with him through Facebook, WhatsApp and email. He then discovered that he could donate money to Sheikh.

On July 29, 2016, he sent S$1,059 to the preacher through a middleman called Patrick Gray via Western Union. It was not stated who Gray is.

On Sept 3, 2016, he sent another US$62 (S$87) to Sheikh’s wife Nzingha Kokayi through PayPal.

‘TERRORISM AFFECTS US ALL’

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Chong Yonghui sought the sentence imposed, telling the court that a deterrent sentence was warranted to send “a strong message to other like-minded individuals in Singapore that supporting terrorism through financial means will attract uncompromising punishment”.

The prosecutor highlighted aggravating factors such as the transnational element of the offences, and how Hussein carefully planned what he did.

“Terrorism in all its manifestations, whether as acts, or propaganda in the form of extremist rhetoric, affects us all.

“This is especially so when the Internet, a platform with a truly global reach, is used to distribute terrorist propaganda which is focused on recruitment, radicalisation and incitement to terrorism,” DPP Chong added.

When Hussein was charged last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that he also followed the lectures of foreign radical ideologues, such as Anwar al-Awlaki from Al-Qaeda and several others who have been arrested or imprisoned for inciting violence or espousing support for terrorism.

Hussein maintained regular contact with foreign pro-Isis individuals on social media to keep up with the developments in Isis, MHA said.

He also tried to influence some of his foreign online contacts to follow the violent teachings of the radical ideologues whom he had been following, because he wanted them to support Isis.

In mitigation on Thursday, Hussein pleaded for leniency and told the court that his son was born while he was in detention. He also promised to be a “good citizen of Singapore” after being released.

He could have been jailed up to 10 years, or fined up to S$500,000, or both.

Related topics

crime court terrorism ISIS finance

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