M’sians unlikely to leave Guantanamo

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 08 Jan 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Intelligence sources have ruled out the possibility for now that Malaysian militants Mohd Farik Amin and Mohammed Nazir Lep will be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay to Malaysia.

It was reported in an international news portal that President Barrack Obama is planning to transfer at least 18 more detainees within days after announcing that four prisoners are being sent to Saudi Arabia. The group being released will be drawn from those held at Guantanamo for more than a decade.

According to a military source briefed on the process, 22 detainees are being prepared for transfer out of the camp before Jan 20.

On Thursday afternoon, the Pentagon announced the ‘transfer’ of four detainees to Saudi Arabia - Salem Ahmed Hadi, Mohammed Ghanim, Mohammed Bawazir and Abdullah al Shabli of Yemen.

The portal also cited sources saying there will be three more sets of transfers before Obama leaves office on Jan 20.

However, intelligence sources ruled out the possibility for now, that Mohd Farik, also known as Yazid Zubair and Mohammed Nazir, also known as Bashir Lap, would be among the next batch to be freed from the detention centre.

“It is a long and difficult process. Both countries must agree on the method of transfer and a suitable location as well as duration to hold these prisoners in Malaysia,” a source revealed yesterday.

It is learnt that the Obama administration was looking to charge and sentence the duo in a US military court to a certain duration with the remainder of the term to be served in Malaysia.

“There lies the first problem as Malaysia doesn’t recognise the authority of the military court.

“The second problem is Malaysia may want to detain them under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA), which the US in turn does not agree with,” another source said.

Even without such obstacles, the ultimate quandary is the level of danger the duo posed given their involvement in al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Deputy Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said Mohd Farik was an explosives expert and among those responsible for channelling funds for the attack on the JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta in 2003.

As for Mohammed Nazir, he specialised in hijacking and targeted American interests in the region.

“They are high-ranking members with a great deal of influence.

“There is a high possibility they might return to their militant ways and join other groups especially the Islamic State (IS),” he said.

If both Mohd Farik and Mohammed Nazir were successfully brought back to Malaysia, DCP Ayob said the police would place them in the deradicalisation programme.

“Our programme has been proven to be effective and these two would surely be made to go through it,” he said.

As for another Guantanamo detainee - Indonesian Riduan Isamudin, also known as Hambali, DCP Ayob said it would spell doom for the region given his expertise in attacks and recruitment if he is released.

“He was not called the Osama Bin Laden of South-East Asia for nothing. He is notorious and capable of recruiting as well as launching attacks on Western interests in the region,” he added.

DCP Ayob said the release of the all three notorious terrorists would only spur IS further.

“Intelligence has indicated that the terror group is planning to expand its influence in South-East Asia. If they are freed, the IS would have gained a valuable “weapon” that will bolster their ranks,” he said.

In September last year, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that Mohammed Nazir might be relocated to Malaysia, but he will have to continue the deradicalisation process in prison.

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