Waterford man admits sending money to Islamic State in 2015

A 26-year-old man has admitted providing funding from Co Waterford to terrorist organisation Islamic State.

Hassan Bal, formerly of O’Connell St, Waterford, yesterday pleaded guilty at Waterford Circuit Court to two counts relating to the funding and attempted funding of IS. He has been in custody since April.

His case was adjourned by Judge Eugene O’Kelly to April 10, when a date will be fixed for the case to be finalised and for Bal to be sentenced.

Bal was in court wearing a blue-and-white check shirt, green jacket, and grey trousers.

He was asked to confirm his name and said “guilty” in reply to both charges put to him.

The accused moved to Ireland from the UK with his family when he was 12 years of age, initially living in Wexford, and in Waterford from 2007. He holds an Irish passport and was training to be an electrician. After he was arrested in April, the district court heard that his wife, who was born in the UK, was pregnant with the couple’s first child.

Bal yesterday pleaded guilty to unlawfully providing €400 — using an An Post/Western Union money transfer in Co Waterford on October 2, 2015 — to a Stevo Maksimovic in the city of Brako in Bosnia-Herzegovina, intending or knowing that the funds would be used for the benefit of the terrorist group known as Islamic State or Daesh. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, on indictment.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawfully attempting to collect or receive cash from a person known to him as Omar Abu Aziz, by means of telephonic communications and an intermediary at an address at 2 Geron Way, London, NW2 6GJ, knowing that the funds would be used for the benefit of Islamic State. That offence was committed on October 23, 2015.

The offences are contrary to section 13 (3)(a) and section 13 (4) of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act of 2005.

Giollaiosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, said it was a “very unusual case” and said the sentencing hearing would take up to two hours.

He handed into a court a document in relation to a request for an expert on radicalisation, Daniel Koelher, of the German Institute of Radicalisation and De-Radicalisaion Studies, to carry out a report on Bal.

Mr Ó Lideadha asked that Dr Koelher be given access to interviews with Bal and any associated documents, including the book of evidence; and that the expert provide a report on why Bal became “associated with such activities”.

Mr Ó Lideadha also asked that Dr Koelher be available to give evidence at the sentencing hearing.

Bal was remanded in custody to appear in court on April 10.

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