Singapore: Four Bangladeshi nationals were on Tuesday sentenced in Singapore to up to five years in prison for raising money for the dreaded Islamic State terror group and plotting to overthrow the government back home.
Ringleader Rahman Mizanur was sentenced to five years in prison. Sohel Hawlader Ismail Hawlader was sentenced to 2 years in jail while Miah Rubel and Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar were handed down 2.5 years jail term each.
They were earlier charged with providing or collecting money to fund terrorist acts in Bangladesh. Asking for deterrent sentences, the prosecution pointed out that the accused men have caused public disquiet and were funding one of the Islamic State militant group.
The four were part of a group of six charged under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA), the first time the Act has been used for prosecution.
The other two, Zaman Daulat and Mamun Leakot Ali have denied the charges and are claiming trial. Court documents had shown that the men had clearly defined roles. They were led by Rahman, with Mamun as the group's deputy leader.
Miah was in the group's financial council, while Jabath handled the group's media. Zaman and Sohel were in the group's security and fighter councils respectively.
Miah and Jabath were also accused of possessing money for terrorist purposes. Court documents also showed that Jabath was in possession of USD 1,360, this includes a sum of USD 1,060 that he was handed by Miah last month.
In all, the six had contributed sums of USD 60 to USD 500 to the cause. They were planning attacks back home in hopes of toppling their government, Strait Times reported.
Their goal was to set up an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it said. The six were among eight men arrested between late March and early April this year. Bangladesh has been reeling under a spate of terror attacks.
Victims of the attacks by suspected Islamists have included secular bloggers, gay rights activists and followers of minority religions including Hindus, Christians and Muslim Sufis and Shiites.
Recently, gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave and killed 22 people, most of them foreigners from Italy, Japan, India and the US in an attack that was claimed by the Islamic State.