23 Sep 2019

Detention of Three Radicalised Indonesian Nationals Under the Internal Security Act

1. Three female Indonesian nationals were issued with Orders of Detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in September 2019, while investigations into their terrorism financing activities are ongoing. They are 33-year-old Anindia Afiyantari (Anindia), 36-year-old Retno Hernayani (Retno) and 31-year-old Turmini. At the point of their arrests, they had worked as domestic workers in Singapore for between six and 13 years. 

2. The trio were radicalised in 2018 after they viewed online materials related to the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and became convinced that ISIS was fighting for Islam and that its use of violence against "infidels" was justified. Their radicalisation deepened after they joined multiple pro-ISIS social media chat groups and channels. They were drawn to the violent visuals disseminated on these platforms, such as ISIS’s bomb attacks and beheading videos, as well as recycled propaganda on ISIS’s past victories in the battlefield. They were also influenced by the online sermons of Indonesian radical preachers such as Aman Abdurrahman 1 and Usman Haidar bin Seff 2 .

3. The three of them became acquainted with one another around the time when they were becoming radicalised. Anindia and Retno first met at a social gathering in Singapore during their off-days, while Turmini connected with them on social media. Over time, they developed a network of pro-militant foreign online contacts, including "online boyfriends", who shared their pro-ISIS ideology. All three also became strong supporters of the Indonesia-based ISIS-affiliated terrorist group, Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) 3.

4. Anindia and Retno harboured the intention to travel to Syria to join ISIS. They were also encouraged by their online contacts to migrate to the southern Philippines, Afghanistan or Africa to join pro-ISIS groups there. Anindia was prepared to take up arms for ISIS in Syria and become a suicide bomber, while Retno aspired to live amongst ISIS fighters in Syria and participate in the conflict there. Retno believed that Muslims were duty-bound to travel to other conflict zones (apart from Syria), such as Palestine and Kashmir, to fight against "the enemies of Islam".

5. The three of them actively galvanised support online for ISIS. They each maintained several social media accounts, which they used to post pro-ISIS materials. They also donated funds to overseas-based entities for terrorism-related purposes, such as to support the activities of ISIS and JAD. Turmini believed that her donations would earn her a place in paradise.

6. Apart from them, a fourth Indonesian domestic worker was also arrested as part of the investigation. Although she was not found to be radicalised, she was aware of the others’ radicalisation, but did not report them to the authorities. She has since been repatriated to Indonesia upon the completion of the investigation into her.

7. Singapore faces a persistent terrorism threat, fuelled by the virulent propaganda of terrorist groups like ISIS. The fact that all three individuals in the present case were radicalised in 2018, at a time when ISIS’s physical territory was already significantly diminished, highlights the enduring appeal of ISIS’s violent ideology.

8. Including these three, the total number of radicalised foreign domestic workers detected in Singapore since 2015 currently stands at 19. None were found to have had plans to carry out acts of violence in Singapore, but their radicalisation and association with terrorists overseas had rendered them a security threat to Singapore. The earlier 16 radicalised domestic workers were all repatriated after investigations were completed.

9. The Government takes a serious view of any form of support for terrorism in Singapore – whether by Singaporeans or foreigners. The public should exercise caution against viewing radical material online, including sermons by extremist preachers.

10. The community plays a critical role in the fight against terrorism. Family members, friends, colleagues and employers are best placed to notice possible signs of radicalisation. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

a) the avid consumption of radical materials;

b) propagating and re-posting terrorism-related images, videos and posts on social media;

c) expressing support for terrorist entities and/or causes;

d) drastic changes in appearance, and/or behaviour (e.g. in dressing, living habits, becoming withdrawn from others etc.);

e) espousing an "us versus them" thinking, e.g. displaying hatred or intolerance towards people with other views and/or beliefs; and

f) stating the intention to commit terrorist violence.



11. The time between radicalisation and the commission of violence can be very short. Timely reporting allows the authorities to investigate and intervene to stem the radicalisation, before an individual harms or kills someone. In addition, such reporting can save these individuals. Once individuals commit an act of violence, they are liable to face far more severe penalties, including capital punishment where applicable. Anyone who knows or suspects that a person has been radicalised, or is engaging in terrorism-related activities, should promptly call the Internal Security Department Counter-Terrorism Centre hotline 1800-2626-473 (1800-2626-ISD).


 

1Aman Abdurrahman is the religious ideologue of Indonesia-based ISIS-affiliated terrorist group, Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD). He was sentenced to death in June 2018 for inciting others to commit terror attacks in Indonesia.

2Usman Haider bin Seff (Usman) was a member of the regional terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in 2004 for harbouring a senior JI member following the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta. In January 2019, Usman uploaded several online videos calling for the release of jailed JI founder and radical preacher, Abu Bakar Bashir.

3 JAD has been banned by the Indonesian government. It was responsible for a number of terrorist attacks and foiled plots in Indonesia in recent years, including the coordinated suicide bombings in Surabaya in May 2018, which killed 28 people (including 13 perpetrators) and injured over 40.

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