Singaporean man jailed 33 months for financing terrorism by funding IS

SINGAPORE (CNA) – A Singaporean man was sentenced to 33 months’ jail yesterday for financing terrorism in the first trial of its kind.

Imran Kassim, 36, was convicted of one count of funding Islamic State (IS) propaganda by sending SGD450 to a man named Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan in Turkey on October 31, 2014.

After a short trial that lasted only a few hours, District Judge Seah Chi-Ling found Imran guilty based on his statements to officers, his admissions in court, and a remittance advice and receipt.

He knew that the money would benefit IS, which is an entity within the al-Qaeda list and clearly a terrorist entity, said the judge.

Imran admitted in his statements that he had sent the money in response to a Facebook post, as he believed the donation would benefit the page holder, whose work was to get support for IS.

He answered that he donated because it would “help spread support for IS”, gather more supporters for IS and raise awareness for IS.

The judge also responded to Imran’s defence, which he said had two strands.

“First, he claims he is not subject to Singapore law, being subject instead to Sharia law,” said Judge Seah. “The accused does not cite any authority in support of this submission.” He added, “This argument is clearly … without basis in our laws, and I therefore reject the accused’s argument.” Responding to Imran’s allegations that there were inconsistencies and “gross exaggerations” in the way IS is portrayed, and that opponents of IS have themselves committed atrocities, the judge said that even if these facts were proven, his arguments were not a defence in criminal law.

The prosecution asked for a sentence of 32 to 33 months’ jail, saying that while Imran was the first offender to claim trial for a terrorism financing offence, he was not the first to be prosecuted. They listed aggravating factors including how Imran carried out the offence in a deliberate fashion, how he donated to “one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations in the world”, and how he has displayed “no remorse”.

File photo of Imran Kassim, 36. PHOTO: CNA