SINGAPORE — The first Singaporean to claim trial to funding terrorism was sentenced to two years and nine months’ jail in the State Courts on Tuesday (14 January) after a judge earlier found him guilty of providing monies to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On Tuesday morning, the prosecution had sought a 32 to 33 month jail term for Imran Kassim, 36, whom it said had shown no remorse over his actions.
Imran was convicted of one count of providing $450 through the Western Union Global Network to an individual in Turkey known as Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan, for publication of ISIS propaganda on 31 October 2014.
While Imran was the first to claim trial to his charge under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, others have been prosecuted before him, noted the prosecution.
But Imran’s case was unique in its aggravating factors, particularly the measures he had taken to hide his offence, pointed out Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo.
“Before embarking on this transfer, the accused downloaded an application Surespot, and added (Alsaied) on it, the accused and he communicated and he obtained transfer details and after making transfer he deleted the application as he did not want to leave any evidence that he transferred money,” said the DPP.
He candidly admitted that he wanted to evade detection by authorities. He also deleted the Facebook messages with Alsaied for fear that someone would stumble upon them and report his “pro-ISIS purposes”.
Imran had carried out the act in a deliberate fashion as part of his long-standing plans to support the terrorist group, added DPP Khoo.
Attempted to join ISIS
The former managing director of logistics firm Novo Logistics had taken an interest in ISIS since 2013 and began following propaganda videos, including those of executions.
He unsuccessfully attempted to join ISIS in Syria in early 2014, under the cover of providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees.
In July that same year, he posted a pledge of allegiance, known as Bai’ah, to the terrorist group on his Facebook account, believing that the group fulfilled the criteria as a caliphate.
He replied to Alsaied’s call for donations after seeing his Facebook post.
On Imran’s apparent lack of remorse, the prosecution said that Imran repeatedly claimed not to recognise Singapore law despite being a Singaporean who had enjoyed the benefits of citizenship his entire life.
In coming to a sentence, the prosecution cited a previous case involving three Bangladeshi nationals who donated between $200 and $300 to finance terrorism. These offenders received 24 months’ jail each.
Imran’s case would be closest to the offender who donated $500 and was jailed 30 months’, stated the prosecution.
“Taking into account the fact that the accused donated $450, coupled with the fact that he is not entitled to the usual plead guilty sentencing discount, and is not remorseful for committing the offence, we submit that a sentence of 32 to 33 months’ imprisonment is fair and appropriate, and properly encapsulates his culpability,” said DPP Khoo.
Asked to mitigate, Imran, who spoke with a British accent, only said, ““I think I’ve said everything that I had to say yesterday.”
‘The kindest person I know’: Offender’s younger brother
In a statement to the media after the hearing concluded, Imran’s younger brother said that the family prayed for a change in Imran and for his eventual release.
The brother, who declined to be named, stated, “Imran is the kindest person I know. He is never one to remain quiet when he sees something wrong.”
However, let me be clear that we stand with Singapore against Imran’s actions. He ultimately wanted to protect people to save civilians and not kill them, but he has sided with an enemy of Singapore known for using fear, intimidation and manipulation as a means to their end.”
The brother said on behalf of his family, “We fully reject ISIS as an organization. And the stain they have left on Islam.”
In a half day trial on Monday, Imran said he did not recognise Singapore law and could not plead guilty. He said in closing submissions that he contributed to ISIS propaganda to highlight the “atrocities committed by the Western coalition against Muslims in (ISIS)” and to show that the mainstream media had fabricated portrayals of ISIS.
For financing terrorism, Imran could have been jailed up to 10 years and/or fined a maximum $500,000.