SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man was found guilty on Tuesday (Jan 14) for financing terrorism in the first trial of its kind.
Imran Kassim, 36, was convicted of one count of funding Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda by sending S$450 to a man named Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan in Turkey on Oct 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 ISIS, 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 ISIS.
He answered that he donated because it would "help spread support for ISIS", gather more supporters for ISIS, and raise awareness for ISIS.
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 Islamic 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 ISIS is portrayed, and that opponents of ISIS 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".
"He does not recognise Singapore law, despite being a Singaporean who has enjoyed Singaporean citizenship his entire life," said the prosecutor.
"Even going so far as to say that he transferred the money to protest Singapore's participation in the war against ISIS."
Imran said he had nothing to say as he "said everything I had to say yesterday".
The judge adjourned sentencing to Tuesday afternoon.
Imran's family members, who declined to be named, told reporters after the conviction that they did not support Imran's actions, but stressed that he had decided not to mount a legal defence as he had purportedly been told by the Internal Security Department (ISD) that he would be detained indefinitely regardless of conviction.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had said in a statement when Imran was charged last year that Imran may be detained further under the Internal Security Act "if he remains a threat" after finishing his jail term if convicted.
"We are not supporting his actions in any shape or form," said a male family member. "It's very clear that he broke the law in (transferring the money)."
He said the family had not expected Imran's actions, and that they had not had physical contact with him for more than two years, touching his hand only briefly during the trial opening on Monday.
The penalties for providing property for the benefit of a terrorist or terrorist entity are a jail term of up to 10 years, a maximum fine of S$500,000, or both.