‘IS recruiter’ Hamidon claims: I was ‘cajoled and seduced’ to commit crime
The woman accused of using social media to spread extremism and recruit Islamic State (IS) fighters sought the dismissal of rebellion and inciting to rebellion complaint against her, arguing she was instigated by intelligence agents to committing crime.
During the resumption of the preliminary investigation on her case at the Department of Justice (DOJ) last Tuesday, Karen Aizha Hamidon submitted her counter-affidavit answering the “rebellion or 296 counts of inciting rebellion” complaint filed against her by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Counter-Terrorism Division.
Hamidon said she was “cajoled and seduced into doing several acts” by a certain “J.A.”, who later on turned out to be an NBI agent, including posting the messages in Telegram app.
She said she met J.A. – who was purportedly using a profile photo of Junaid Hussain Al Bitani, a British jihadi killed in Syria in 2015 – on Facebook sometime in September 2016. She also said that J.A. had introduced himself as a “self-proclaimed Murabit” or Muslim soldier stationed in the southern part of the country, including Lanao in Mindanao.
They both went on to join a Telegram group “Salungat ng Taghut,” according to Hamidon.
“Mainly, he tried to gain my trust and confidence,” she added.
Hamidon claimed that J.A. asked her to make a black flag of the IS and instructed her to record a video showing allegiance to the terrorist group but refused and declined on both instances.
“J.A. managed to gain my trust and had become my confidant and persuaded me to do things against my will,” she claimed.
Hamidon said that when she was apprehended last October 11, she was supposed to receive a Wi-Fi gadget and several SIM cards sent by J.A. through a courier. But when she was about to get the package, Hamidon said she was arrested without warrant.
“The arresting officers who pretended to be authorized representative of Grab Express arrested respondent after showing her cellphone while looking for the confirmation code. Please note at that time, respondent was not doing any crime,” she explained in her affidavit.
She asserted that constitutional guarantee “is not a blanket prohibition against all searches and seizures without warrant.”
Hamidon also claimed she should not be charged of rebellion and inciting rebellion because the elements of the crime were absent since she never rose and took up arms against the government, as there was no evidence to prove that she removed allegiance to the state and her readers “agreed to rise up in arms” to overthrow the government.
“She is only a weak woman with no means—physically, financially, emotionally, and psychologically. As a matter of fact, she owes the government so much because she was raised by her parents through their salaries, from being government employees specifically of the [Philippine National Police],” the affidavit stated.
Hamidon’s parents were members of the police: her late father, Akmad Hamidon, was a senior inspector, and her mother, Victoria, was a police inspector. She is the eldest of six children, her affidavit stated.
Based on her sworn statement, Hamidon converted to Islam in March 2008 and was a product of a Catholic education having finished her elementary and secondary education at the Pilar College in Zamboanga, a school run by the Religious of Virgin Mary congregation.
She went on to take up Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the Western Mindanao State University. She also took up several units in the nursing course at the Southeast Asian College.
Hamidon then worked as a flight attendant at Emirates Airlines and had also been a call center agent.
She was married four times. First, to an Egyptian national Ahmad Magdy, whom she divorced in December 2010 then to Muhammad Shamin bin Mohamed Siddek, the IS terrorist convicted in Singapore. She was also married to the late terror leader, Mohamad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid alias Tokboy, who was said to be behind the Davao City night market blast; and lastly to American Abdul Jalil Rickard.
Hamidon is facing 296 counts of inciting rebellion for violating Article 138 of the Revised Penal Code or rebellion for violating Articles 134 and 135, in relation to Section 6 of R.A. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The NBI had earlier presented to the media the supposed voice recording of Hamidon urging listeners to pledge allegiance to IS but the suspect claimed she was just forced to do it.
But NBI agent Joshua Raymundo said she should just explain herself in court.
“These allegations are evidentiary in nature and this is better threshed out during a full-blown trial,” Raymundo said.
Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong has terminated the proceedings and submitted the complaint for resolution. Ong said the NBI would no longer have to submit its reply. /kga
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