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Self-radicalised teen released from detention after 'significant progress' in rehabilitation: ISD

SINGAPORE — A teenager who was arrested and detained two years ago for terrorism-related conduct has been released on a restriction order this month.

Self-radicalised teen released from detention after 'significant progress' in rehabilitation: ISD
As part of the requirements for his release, Daniel (not his real name) must abide by several conditions and restrictions, such as getting the director’s approval if he wishes to access the internet or social media, issue public statements or address public meetings.
  • A teenager was detained in January 2020 for supporting the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis)
  • He was first investigated in 2017 after posting defaced images of President Halimah Yacob on social media and calling on Isis to behead her
  • Now 19, he was released in January 2022 after making “significant progress” in his rehabilitation, the authorities said
  • But he has to abide by several conditions as part of the requirements for his release

SINGAPORE — A teenager who was arrested and detained two years ago for terrorism-related conduct has been released on a restriction order this month.

The Internal Security Department (ISD) said in a press release on Monday (Jan 24) that the decision was made because Daniel (not his real name) has been receptive and has made “significant progress” in his rehabilitation.

However, as part of the requirements for his release, the self-radicalised 19-year-old must abide by several conditions and restrictions.

For instance, he is not permitted to change his residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the approval of the ISD director.

The director’s approval is also required if he wishes to access the internet or social media, issue public statements or address public meetings.

This similarly extends to any desire to print, distribute or contribute to any publication, as well as holding office in or being a member of any organisation, association or group.

While it did not provide further details, the ISD said that since Daniel’s release, he has successfully enrolled in a course at a post-secondary institution.

It added that Daniel has also “grown closer to his family members” who had been visiting him regularly while in detention and supporting him in his rehabilitation.

Daniel’s arrest and detention was first reported in January 2020 when he was 17.

He was first investigated by the ISD in September 2017 when he was only 15 years old; he had posted on social media defaced images of President Halimah Yacob and called for militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) to behead her.

The authorities said then that Daniel had been radicalised by a foreign online contact who introduced him to pro-Isis social media groups in 2017.

Through these groups, he gained access to what he believed was exclusive Isis content. The Ministry of Home Affairs said in 2020 that in Daniel’s eyes, Isis was a powerful group that was fighting for Islam and its use of violence against its opponents was therefore justified.

Last year, ISD reported how Daniel spent his time in detention to turn his life around.

For example, he made vast improvements to his academic performance during his rehabilitation process, scoring 4 As and a B at an N-Level exam.

He also began rejecting radical ideology after developing a deeper understanding of religious concepts and teachings.

Speaking at the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) and Inter-agency Aftercare Group (ACG) seminar on Monday, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said that since 2002, over 130 Singaporeans have been dealt with for terrorism-related activities.

He added that at present, only 15 remain in detention while another 26 are under supervision.

In his speech, Mr Shanmugam also spoke about Daniel and noted that the youth's rehabilitation, and others like him, would not have been possible without the volunteers from both the RRG and ACG.

ISD said on Monday that monthly sessions with the RRG religious counsellor have helped Daniel to correct his misguided belief in radical ideologies. 

"In the process, Daniel has since gained an appreciation of Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious context," it said.

ISD said that it will continue to work with RRG and ACG to help the teen reintegrate into society.

Related topics

terrorism rehabilitation radicalised Internal Security Act ISD teenager ISIS

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