SINGAPORE — Singapore said Thursday that it had refused to allow an Australian once tried on terrorism charges to enter the city-state due to his history of extremism and sent him home to Sydney.
Zaky Mallah was denied entry to Singapore on Wednesday as it prepares to host a historic meeting next week between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that the 34-year-old was denied entry "on account of his terrorism-related antecedents."
The ministry referred to Mallah in 2003 becoming the first person charged under new Australian counter-terrorism laws with planning a suicide attack on the offices of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He was acquitted in 2005 of charges of preparing a terrorist act, but received a 2 ½-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to threatening violence against Australian government officials, the statement said.
The ministry also mentioned reports that Mallah had travelled to Syria, and had expressed support for al-Qaida-affiliated groups and the Free Syrian Army.
Mallah alerted Australia's Seven Network television to his predicament from Changi Airport before authorities confiscated his phone.
"They asked me a lot of questions about my history, my dealings with the Australian government, ASIO, my trip to Turkey, Syria," he said after arriving on a flight from Sydney.
"They asked me if I was in Syria ... fighting, more or less," he added.
Mallah told Seven that the Singaporeans considered him a security threat ahead of the U.S.-North Korean summit, and interrogated him for five hours.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton welcomed the deportation, saying Singapore "won't cop idiots" like Mallah.