Singaporean who took part in Yemen civil war and became foreign agent released from ISA detention

Singaporean who took part in Yemen civil war and became foreign agent released from ISA detention

Armed Houthi followers ride on the back of a truck outside a hospital in Sanaa
Armed Houthi followers ride on the back of a truck outside a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen on April 8, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) two years ago for taking part in the Yemen civil war has been released and placed under a restriction order (RO), the Internal Security Department (ISD) said on Wednesday (Mar 10).

Sheik Heikel Khalid Bafana, 49, had volunteered to take up arms and worked as a paid agent for a “foreign power” by collecting intelligence on Yemen.

He was placed under the RO in March, ISD said.

Individuals on RO cannot travel out of Singapore or change addresses or jobs without approval. They cannot issue public statements, address public meetings or print, distribute or contribute to any publication without approval.

The ISD usually releases detainees under the ISA and issues them with ROs after they show good progress in rehabilitation, and are assessed to no longer pose a security threat requiring preventive detention.

READ: Singaporean detained under ISA for taking part in Yemen civil war, working as agent for ‘foreign power’

Heikel, who was in Yemen from 2008 to 2019, ran a consultancy there that advised foreign companies on security risks and business opportunities. He had stayed on in the country even as the security situation deteriorated and Singaporeans were evacuated.

Heikel came to the ISD's attention while he was still in Yemen, after he made social media posts suggesting that he was involved in the armed conflict there. This included a photograph of himself in military gear with a submachine gun.

He was arrested under the ISA after he returned to Singapore on Feb 5, 2019.

In a separate case, the ISD said it has allowed the RO of a Singaporean woman to lapse upon its expiry in March.

Rasidah Mazlan, 63, was issued with the RO in March 2019 after investigations showed she was in contact with foreign entities suspected to be involved in terrorism-related activities, including people who had expressed support for ISIS.

The Ministry of Home Affairs previously said that Rasidah’s contacts with these individuals were mainly driven by her deep sympathy for Muslims suffering in overseas conflicts.

“Her indiscriminate online activity rendered her vulnerable to adverse influence and recruitment by terrorist elements who pose a threat to Singapore,” the ministry said then.

Source: CNA/jt

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