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12 Jul 2016   09:11:57 PM   Tuesday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

S’pore court jails 4 Bangladeshi workers for terror financing

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A Singapore court has sentenced four Bangladeshi workers to two and five years’ imprisonment for financing terrorism back home, media reports say.

Authorities say the men contributed from S$60 ($45) to S$1,360 ($1,000) to fund attacks in the name of Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB), according to a Reuters report.

The report quoted the prosecutor, who did not give his name for security reasons, as saying, "The amounts were significant relative to the salaries of the accused persons.”

The men had been detained in April under the country’s Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows suspects to be held for lengthy periods without trial.

They are Mizanur Rahman, 31, a draftsman earning S$1,800 ($1,300) a month, Rubel Miah, 26, Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 31, and Ismail Hawlader Sohel, 29.

The four had pleaded guilty on May 31 to one or two counts each of providing or collecting hundreds of dollars to fund terror attacks in Bangladesh, says a Channel NewsAsia report.

Rahman, found to be the ringleader, has been sentenced to five years in jail, reported Reuters, The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday.

"I wanted to learn my religion but they showed me the wrong way, the wrong activities," Mizanur said in court. "My intentions were wrong ... I`m very remorseful."

Sohel will be behind bars for two years, while Rubel and Jabath have been sentenced to two and a half years in jail.

Bangladesh, a deeply religious but mostly moderate Muslim-majority country of 160 million people, has faced a series of militant attacks over the past year, the most serious on July 1 when gunmen stormed a cafe in the capital, Dhaka, and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners.

There were no indications the men had planned to carry out attacks in Singapore.

The Straits Times report said the sentences would have retrospective effect from May 27, the day the men were first produced in court.

The four were among six charged under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA). The other two - Daulat Zaman, 34, and Leakot Ali Mamun, 29, - have denied the charges and face criminal trial.

Channel NewsAsia reported that Zaman had claimed he did not know that the money he contributed would be used for terrorist activities.

The punishment for financing terrorism in Singapore is up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.

The six were among eight marine and construction industry workers arrested between March and early April, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The court found they were planning attacks in Bangladesh with the aim of toppling the country’s government.

Their goal was the setting up of an Islamic state in Bangladesh and to make it a part of the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said the Straits Times report.

Police in Bangladesh said they were being investigated for connections to the banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Jul 12, 2016

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