DOJ to submit for resolution raps vs woman inciting terror online

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to submit for resolution the rebellion charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against a woman allegedly involved in recruiting foreigners into the country for terrorist activities through social media.

During the proceedings, respondent Karen Aizha Hamidon, 36, submitted her counter-affidavit to Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong on the complaint filed by members of the NBI Counter-Terrorism Division.

In her counter-affidavit, Hamidon, the wife of slain Ansar Khalifa Philippines (AKP) leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias “Tokboy”, sought the dismissal of the “rebellion or 296 counts of inciting rebellion” complaint lodged against her.

The AKP has been identified as the group behind the September 2016 Davao City night market bombing, which was carried out with the help of the Maute terror group, and the foiled bombing attempt of the United States Embassy in Manila in December last year.

Maguid died last January during a shootout with police in Sarangani province.

“The fact that the respondent became the wife of the leader of AKP made her life to be of special interest to arresting persons,” the counter-affidavit stated.

“Please note that Karen has been captured before for three times already and in all those arrests, she was released because there was no evidence against her person. Such that the arresting officers made a way to incriminate Karen for them to have evidence against her,” it added.

Hamidon denied that she intended to recruit fighters to join the Maute group, which has claimed allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I vehemently deny the charges against me because there was an instigation on my part which is illegal. The acts allegedly committed were not done voluntarily and against my will and caprice,” she said in her counter-affidavit.

Hamidon was apprehended by operatives of the NBI’s Counter-Terrorism Division last Oct. 11 in Taguig City.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Hamidon has been a person of interest for some time and that the NBI has been tracking her movements and activities even before ISIS-inspired groups attacked Marawi City last May.

He said Hamidon tried to recruit several Indian nationals last year using social media to come to the country and join the Maute group in Mindanao.

On the day that she was arrested, the NBI discovered Hamidon’s post in the social media application Telegram, asking local and foreign Muslims to help Maute fighters battling government troops in Marawi city.

Prior to her arrest last Oct. 11 at her home in Taguig City, Hamidon recounted that she was contacted by a person named “JA” on her Facebook account back in September 2016.

She noted that JA, who used as his profile picture the photo of Junaid Hussain Al Bitani, a Briton who died in Syria in 2015, introduced himself as a self-proclaimed Murabit, a Ribat-Mujahid or Muslim soldier, stationed to guard the frontier in southern Philippines.

During their conversations on the chat group “Salungat ng Taghut” in the phone app Telegram, she said “he tried to gain my trust and confidence”.

On Oct. 11, JA promised her he would send a wi-fi gadget and several Globe sim cards via Grab Express.

That same day, she said NBI agents who initially introduced themselves as partners from Grab Express arrested her.

Hamidon said she was ”cajoled and seduced into doing several acts by JA”.
In fact, she said, she was instructed and told to post messages in Telegram by JA against her will and this negates felonious intent.

Hamidon said this is evident in the alleged conversations between her and the undercover agent “under the possession of the NBI to which they failed to exhibit and collate as evidence.”

She claimed that there was “intentional oppression of material evidence to prove voluntariness to commit a crime” on her part.

She also recounted how she refused the instruction of JA to hand-stitch a black ISIS flag.

“He also instructed me to record a video showing allegiance to the Islamic State but I also declined,” she added. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA