Singapore: A radicalised former Bangladeshi construction worker – detained by Singaporean authorities last year – is facing upto 15 charges related to terror financing after he was found transferring money to terrorist organisations based in strife-torn Syria, according to a media report on Thursday.
Ahmed Faysal, 27, allegedly made the money transfer through several transactions, via gift-giving payment sites such as JustGiving, the TODAY newspaper reported quoting judicial documents.
Faysal is accused of knowing that the money would benefit Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, an active Sunni Islamist militant group involved in the Syrian Civil War. The group is also fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in Syria.
A parallel investigation by the Singapore Police’s Commercial Affairs Department found that between February and August of 2020, Faysal allegedly transferred up to SGD 891 (USD 654) on 15 occasions, through online platforms JustGiving, Heroic Hearts Organisation, and GiveBrite.
In a press statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Faysal, who was under detention order, faces 15 charges under Singapore’s Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
Faysal has worked in the construction sector here since early 2017. In 2018, he was radicalised and started following terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) and their goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Syria, the MHA said.
In mid 2019, he switched allegiances to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham which is designated as a terrorist entity under the United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorism and terrorist financing.
If convicted and jailed, the detention order against Faysal will be cancelled and he will serve the court sentence imposed. He would also be held separately from other inmates to prevent him from spreading his radical ideas, the MHA added.
Faysal was arrested under the Internal Security Act in November last year for investigations into terrorism-related activities and issued with an order of detention. On Thursday, the court heard via video conference that Faysal intended to plead guilty during a hearing on February 16 next year.
Those convicted of providing property and services for terrorist purposes can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to SGD 500,000 (USD 367,000), or punished with both.
The MHA pointed out that those wishing to donate to humanitarian causes should check with the Singapore government’s ‘Charity Portal’ to ensure their donations are being used for genuine causes.
Terrorism and terrorism financing are grave threats to domestic and international security, and global action is required to deprive terrorist groups of funding and materials,” the ministry said.
“Singapore is part of this global effort and is strongly committed to combating terrorism financing, regardless of whether the monies are used to facilitate terrorist acts locally or abroad,” TODAY quoted the Ministry as saying.
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