Singaporean man gave Malaysian friend over $1k to help him join ISIS
A Singaporean businessman gave a Malaysian man more than $1,000 to facilitate the latter's journey to Syria to become a fighter for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Mohamed Kazali Salleh, now 51, who committed the offences in 2013 and 2014, was yesterday sentenced to three years and 10 months' jail.
He admitted to two charges under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act involving RM1,000 (about S$385 then) and US$351.75 (around S$450 at the time). A third charge linked to another RM500 was considered during sentencing.
He is the first person to be prosecuted here for financing the travel of an individual to a foreign country to become or train to become a terrorist.
In 2009, Kazali went to Malaysia and befriended a Malaysian, Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, also known as Akel Zainal.
Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Edwin Soh and Andrew Chia said in court documents: "Akel told the accused about his religious views... This intrigued the accused and he kept in contact with Akel."
The two met from 2010 to 2013, attending religious sermons and political rallies in Malaysia.
In 2013, Akel told Kazali of his intention to travel to Syria to be a mujahid and join a group called Jabhat al-Nusra.
He asked Kazali for money for a plane ticket to Turkey, where he would make his way to Syria.
In December 2013, Kazali, who ran a business in Malaysia, met Akel in Johor Baru and gave him RM1,000. The next month, Akel contacted Kazali and said he needed more money.
In January 2014, Kazali asked his daughter to remit US$351.75 to Akel's contact in Turkey.
Akel joined ISIS in 2014 and later took on a leadership role following the death of fellow Malaysian militant Muhd Wanndy Mohamed Jedi in April 2017.
The DPPs said Akel was also identified by Malaysian authorities to be responsible for two foiled plots in Malaysia in 2019.
"These plots involved instructing two Malaysian ISIS supporters to mount attacks on places of worship and police stations in Malaysia in early 2019."
Akel was killed in a Russian air strike in Syria sometime in 2019, the court heard.
Malaysia Special Branch officers arrested Kazali on Dec 19, 2018. He was sent to Singapore and arrested on Jan 7, 2019. That month, he was detained under the Internal Security Act.
Defence lawyers Noor Mohamed Marican and Mohd Munir Marican from Marican & Associates pleaded for the lowest possible sentence of 11 months.
"The accused has now come to realise that ISIS is a mass killing terrorist organisation whose atrocities, vision and purpose (he) unreservedly condemns," they said, adding Kazali is "committed to rehabilitating himself".