Mohamed Kazili Salleh, a 50-year-old businessman, has been charged with three counts of terror financing, according to The Straits Times.
Appearing via a video call, Kazali, a Singaporean, told the court that he wanted to plead guilty and acquire his own lawyer for his defence.
He was said to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
The same report stated that, “From December 2013 and early 2014, Kazali allegedly provided money to a ‘Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin’ intending for the money to be used to facilitate terrorist acts in Syria.”
This Aquil was said to be the most senior ISIS fighter in Syria prior to the man’s death in March 2019. Aquil, who was also known as Akel Zainal, was a Malaysian and also part of punk rock band Ukays. In his capacity as band member, he told two wo Malaysian ISIS supporters to attack places of worship and police stations in Malaysia in 2019. The attack plots did not come to fruition, as the people involved were arrested in 2018.
Who is Mohamed Kazili Salleh, Singaporen businessman and terror financier?
A report from February 2019 stated that a 48-year-old man named Mohamed Kazali Salleh was arrested. At the time, international reports mentioned that the ISIS were making a ‘last stand’, defending a small parcel of land. But concerns over the numerous terrorist cells and sympathizers scattered across the world, particularly in South East Asia.
Kazali was allegedly one such person, who had direct contact with Syria-based ISIS militant Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, also known as Akel Zainal, Ministry of Home Affairs said.
Kazali had relocated to Malaysia with his family when he was a young child, and had been working in Johor Baru over the past decade. He met Akel in 2009, and became radicalised through the latter’s ideas and discussions.
When Akel mentioned that all Muslims were duty-bound to join the fighting in Syria to ‘defend Muslims’, Kazali gave him money to make the journey.
He had given Akel around $1000 over the course of three payments. He sometimes handed the man cash or sent it through money transfer services.
“His material assistance to Akel continued when Akel was in Syria, and in turn, Akel had kept him updated on his exploits on the battlefield,” MHA said.
“Kazali believed that the help he gave to Akel would guarantee him a place in paradise should Akel achieve martyrdom in Syria.”
Kazali also made a pledge to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, which was sent to Akel through social media. He also pledged to go to Syria as well, but was not ready to leave the life he made in Johor at the time.
What is in store for Mohamed Kazili Salleh?
Reports said that Kazali faced the court with a shaved head and a blank expression. If found to be guilty of the three charges laid against him, he would be imprisoned separately from other inmates to ensure that his radical ideas aren’t disseminated to other prisoners.
At the end of his sentence, he will still have to be evaluated if he is no longer a threat to society. If he does not pass the evaluation, he may have to be further detained.