Place of Birth: Singapore;
Imran Kassim is the first Singaporean to be charged with terrorism financing began his trial in a district court on Monday by admitting to giving S$450 (US$330) to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but claimed trial for his actions because he did not recognise Singapore law.
He is former managing director of logistics firm Novo Logistics, faces one charge under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.
He is accused of remitting the money on October 31, 2014 through Western Union to a man in Turkey, known as Mohamad Alsaied Almidan, to publish Islamic State propaganda.
Imran has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since August 2017. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earlier said that he was radicalised by violent Islamic State propaganda, and had tried to travel to Syria at least twice in 2014 and 2015 to join the group.
After unsuccessfully trying to join the Islamic State in Syria in early 2014 under the cover of providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees, he pledged his allegiance to the group on his Facebook account in July that year.
A few months later, he saw a call for donations posted by the Turkish individual — Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan, known to Imran as Aidin — on Facebook. When he told Aidin he wanted to donate money to the Islamic State, Aidin told him to download an encrypted mobile application and gave him other remittance details.
Imran remitted the money through a Western Union branch in Tampines on Oct 31, 2014. He then deleted the app as he wanted to hide evidence of his transfer and wanted to evade detection, he told the authorities in his statements after being detained.
Imran’s trial in open court is the first of its kind in Singapore. Another Singaporean was jailed last year, after a closed-door hearing, for giving more than S$1,000 (US$740) to a Jamaican preacher who had been imprisoned for stirring racial hatred.
According to the ministry, he further admitted that he was prepared to attack Singaporean soldiers deployed in the global coalition against the Islamic State, or hold them as hostages to “demand ransom” from the Singapore Government to help boost the group’s finances.
Imran also sought to galvanise support for the Islamic State online, such as by sharing propaganda via various social media accounts that he held under different personas. His radical and pro-militant views caught the attention of people close to him, who then reported him to the authorities, said the MHA.
He told the court that they were taken voluntarily and he did not challenge them. When asked if he wanted to testify in his defence, he responded that he had “nothing to say”, repeating that he “made the transfer and did it to benefit Islamic State”.
In his closing submissions, he argued that he transferred a “pretty small amount” and gave another reason for doing so – to protest “Singapore’s participation in the war against the Islamic State”.
If convicted of the offence of providing property and services for terrorist purposes, he could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to S$500,000 (US$370,000), or both.
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