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    Jul 13, 2016

    Jail for 4 Bangladeshis who funded terrorism

    FOUR Bangladeshi workers detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) were yesterday jailed between two and five years for financing terrorism.

    They are the first to be convicted under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act.

    The four are Rahman Mizanur, 31; Miah Rubel, 26; Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 31; and Sohel Hawlader Ismail Hawlader, 29.

    They had pleaded guilty to providing or collecting money to fund terrorist acts in Bangladesh in May.

    Ringleader Rahman was sentenced to five years' jail.

    Sohel was given two years while Miah and Jabath, who were the group's treasurers, each got 21/2 years.

    The group arrived at the State Courts in armoured trucks under heavy guard.

    Inside the courtroom, they were bound and shackled, with 11 Gurkha officers standing guard during the proceedings.

    The prosecution called for deterrent sentences that would enhance public security and deter terrorist financing here.

    They noted that the men could have thought they would only be repatriated,and called on the Court to send a clear message that such crimes will not be condoned.

    They said the group had formed and financed the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB), professing support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), one of the deadliest terrorists in the world.

    And while the sum raised by the ISB was not large - $1,360 in total - it is significant relative to the salaries of the men, who earned between $900 and $1,800 each month.

    All four men asked the Court to show leniency, saying that they were sorry and would not commit these crimes again.

    Rahman addressed the court directly while the others spoke through an interpreter.

    Explaining how he got radicalised, Rahman said: "I wanted to learn more about my religion... My friends and the media they show me the wrong way. This is my very big mistake."

    There are two other ISB men who are also facing charges - Zzaman Daulat, 34, and Mamun Leakot Ali, 29 - but they are claiming trial and a pre-trial conference has been set for next Friday.

    The six were among eight men arrested between late March and early April this year. They were planning attacks back home in hopes of toppling their government.

    In sentencing the men yesterday, District Judge Kessler Soh said any act of terrorism needed to be roundly condemned to deter like-minded individuals and those "embarking on such nefarious acts".

    "Terrorism is a clear and present danger that presents a threat not just to our community but the international community at large," he added.

    The sentences of the four men will be backdated to May 27, the day they were first hauled to court.