Wednesday, 20 May 2015

3 months' jail for posting pro-ISIS threats

By Olivia Ho, The Straits Times, 19 May 2015

A SECURITY guard who posted pro-ISIS threats on Facebook was jailed for three months yesterday for inciting religious violence.

Muhammad Shamin Mohamed Sidek, 28, made the two posts on Nov 29 last year, in reaction to a news report on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking part in a dialogue on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Posting in Malay under the username "Achmad Falatehan", Shamin made statements such as "God-willing... we shall wait for the opportunity to hurl you down, face downwards, in a wretched state."

In another post, he wrote "even if there is no ISIS our ambition is still to burn you to ashes", adding: "We pray that Allah will permit that they capture and behead the officials that you sent there..."

In the news report that sparked the posts, PM Lee had commented that the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq has seen terrorist elements in South-east Asia regrouping, and called for "swift action to neutralise threats to Singapore".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien argued that Shamin's posts used "graphic and evocative language" which "further encourages violence along... religious fault lines".

She added that the reach of the accused's words had been magnified by his use of Facebook and the Internet.

In mitigation, Shamin said he had deactivated his Facebook account that same day after leaving police custody, and that the posts had been those of "a simple layman... venting in frustration".

District Judge Shawn Ho called the accused's posts a "grim reminder of how offenders can use technology to stoke the flames of violence".

He added: "It is infinitely better to prevent a breakdown in law, order and safety than to deal with an aftermath when untold and often-irreparable damage has been done."

Shamin was also convicted of possessing contraband cigarettes, which were discovered in a police raid on his Tampines flat. For this, he received a fine of $3,200, or 16 days' jail if he defaults.

For making a document or electronic record containing an incitement to violence, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.

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