S’porean who shared pro-ISIS posts on social media arrested, RO issued

Oct 06, 2016 04.23PM |
 

by Suhaile Md

ANYONE with an Internet connection can get radicalised these days. And if you’re on social media – you’d best think twice about reading, sharing and posting stuff that might suggest you’re pro-ISIS.

Asrul bin Alias, 33, didn’t listen to this advice from a family member and close friend. He stopped posting and sharing, but continued to read about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist group linked to a multitude of terror attacks around the world.

Eventually, he was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement today (Oct 6) that Asrul was arrested in August this year under the ISA for “terrorism-related activities”.

Said MHA: “Starting in 2014, he perused online materials on the conflict in Syria and, in the process, encountered pro-ISIS materials and subsequently became influenced by the terrorist group’s propaganda.”

The technician was placed under a Restriction Order (RO) for two years, the ministry said. Under the RO, he cannot leave the country without approval, and will have to undergo compulsory religious counselling.

Details are scant in the statement but the G’s reasons for his arrest seem to centre on his social media postings in support of ISIS. It did not mention any specific social media platform.

The statement added that he had shared pro-ISIS content with the “intention of spreading the ISIS radical ideology.” He also spoke up against critics of ISIS online.

This is the sixth such announcement on the arrests of radicalised people that MHA has issued this year.

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Mohammad Razif bin Yahya was released from detention this month – nearly a year after his arrest in August last year for taking up arms in Yemen, said MHA in the same statement issued today.

A suspension directive (SD) was issued to cancel his detention order as “he no longer posed a security threat” the ministry said.

The eight Bangladeshis who were detained in April this year had their Orders of Detention (OD) cancelled. Six of them were instead convicted under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act and sentenced to prison (between two to five years).

Two others had their ODs cancelled after investigations ended. They were repatriated to Bangladesh last month.

 

Previous announcements this year:

On August 19, MHA said that four self radicalised individuals were arrested for their intention to move to Syria and fight there.

On July 29, MHA said that Zulfikar Shariff was arrested and detained for joining the hardline Hizbut Tahrir organisation in Australia, among other things like showing support for extremists online.

On May 3, MHA announced the arrest of eight other Bangladeshis who were planning to overthrow the government in Bangladesh.

On March 16, four more people were arrested under the ISA. Three of them took part in the sectarian conflict in Yemen, although one of them only did “sentry duties” and “did not fire” said MHA. The fourth was arrested for intending to join Kurdish militia to fight against ISIS in the Middle East.

On January 20 this year, MHA said that 27 Bangladeshis were arrested late last year for recruitment attempts as well as possessing materials that taught how to kill.

 

Featured image by Natassya Siregar.

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