SINGAPORE — A 17-year-old radicalised student who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in January 2020 has been released this month after making good progress on his rehabilitation.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a media release on Monday (24 January) that the secondary school student had been receptive to efforts to correct his radical ideology by the Internal Security Department (ISD), together with the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG) and the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group (ACG).
He was thus released from his detainment on a restriction order. Under this order, he is not permitted to change his or her residence or employment, or travel out of Singapore, without the approval of the ISD director. He also cannot access the internet or social media without the director's approval.
Attended monthly sessions to improve religious knowledge
MHA said that the student was detain after he had been radicalised by a foreign online contact into supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Despite the demise of the ISIS caliphate, he remained willing to assist ISIS in its terrorist activities, including its online propaganda efforts.
The ministry added that, upon detainment, the student attended monthly sessions with a RRG religious counsellor to "improve his religious knowledge" and correct his "misguided belief in the radical ideologies". A psychologist also worked with the student to reduce his vulnerability to radical influences.
The counsellor also guided the student on personal goals and motivation, and arrangements were made for him to continue with his studies and sit for national examinations while in detention. The student received tutoring support from RRG volunteers who are trained teachers, and scored four distinctions in his GCE Normal (Technical) Level exams in 2020 as well as passed all his subjects in his GCE Normal (Academic) Level exams in 2021.
MHA said that the student has also grown closer to his family members, who had been visiting him regularly while in detention and supporting him in his rehabilitation.
115 individuals released back to society since 2002: Shanmugam
Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam highlighted the student's rehabilitation during a seminar with members from RRG and ACG on Sunday.
He said in his speech at the seminar that since 2002, over 130 Singaporeans have been dealt with for terrorism-related activities. At present, only 15 remain in detention; the other 115 have been rehabilitated and released back into society, with about 26 needing continuous supervision.
"(The student) was released from detention earlier this month, and he is in a post-secondary institution. He has now found his purpose – to study hard, find a good job, provide for his family when he sets up a family, and contribute to society," he told the audience.
"This rehabilitation journey... shows what the hard work you do and the dedication that you give can make a difference to people’s lives."
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