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Monday February 6, 2006

Singapore JI suspect nabbed in Java


KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore’s most wanted Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror suspect, Mas Selamat Kastari, has been arrested by Indonesian authorities. 

Indonesian anti-terror squad members nabbed Mas Selamat, 45, in Java last week. 

He had gone there to visit his son who was said to be studying at a religious school there. 

IN CUSTODY: A file picture showing Mas Selamat (centre) being escorted by Bintan police on Feb 4, 2003. – Reuterspic
Mas Selamat allegedly changed his identity, assuming the name of Edy Heriyanto and obtained an Indonesian passport. 

Sources familiar with the arrest said that Mas Selamat, who in 2003 was jailed 18 months for immigration offences, was arrested to assist police in their probe into several bombings there in late 2001 and 2002. 

They said Singapore had requested for his extradition as the island republic's intelligence division had information that he had planned to bomb the Changi International Airport in 2002. 

If successful, Malaysian intelligence authorities may also question Mat Selamat. 

It is learnt that the Malaysian officers want to know what he got up to in his alleged frequent visits to Johor before fleeing to Thailand and finally to Indonesia.  

The Singaporean intelligence division has information that Mas Selamat had met and discussed with Hambali – allegedly the JI mastermind – how the group could retaliate against the Singapore government, including moves to hijack an American, British or Singapore plane and crash it into the Changi airport. 

The father of five fled Singapore in 2001 when the authorities launched a massive crackdown on suspected JI members. 

It is not immediately known whether Indonesian authorities have acceded to Singapore’s request to have Mas Selamat extradited. 

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