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Ex-Singaporean under ISA detention charged over passport offence

Ex-Singaporean under ISA detention charged over passport offence

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 09 Oct 2020
Author: Shaffiq Alkhatib

Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff allegedly made a false statement in his application for a Singapore passport in 2013.

A man detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after he actively spread radical ideology online was charged in a district court yesterday over a passport-related matter.

Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff, who used to hold dual citizenship for Singapore and Australia, is accused of making a false statement when he applied for a Singapore passport in 2013.

In a statement yesterday, Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said he has since renounced his Singapore citizenship and ceased to be a citizen on Aug 26.

The 49-year-old, who was represented by lawyer Lock Zhi Yong, is expected to plead guilty to the offence under the Passports Act at his next court appearance on Oct 22.

Zulfikar allegedly made the false statement electronically in the "Application for Passport On-line Electronic System" on Dec 11, 2013.

He is said to have declared that he had not acquired the citizenship of another country when he applied for the Singapore passport.

MHA said in its statement that Zulfikar was arrested by the Internal Security Department (ISD) in Singapore, and has been detained under the ISA since July 2016 for his active promotion of terrorism and glorification of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria online.

His actions contributed to the radicalisation of at least two Singaporeans: Muhammad Shamin Mohamed Sidek, who was detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities, and Mohamed Saiddhin Abdullah, whose Restriction Order was allowed to lapse on July 26.

"Zulfikar had also exhorted Muslims to reject the constitutional, secular, democratic state in favour of the establishment of an Islamic state governed by syariah law. He believed that violence should be used to achieve this goal if necessary," said the ministry.

It added that Zulfikar had resettled with his family in Australia in 2002.

"During investigations by ISD and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), he admitted that he had entered Singapore using his Singapore passport and withheld information regarding his Australian citizenship.

"He also admitted to having falsely declared to the ICA that he did not hold the citizenship of another country when he applied to renew his Singapore passport in 2013, as he did not want to give up either citizenship," said MHA.

If convicted of the offence under the Passports Act, Zulfikar can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $10,000.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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