Govt yet to decide whether to free M'sian biochemist linked to 9/11 attacks

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 19 Oct 2019

PONTIAN: The decision on whether to free Malaysian militant Yazid Sufaat, who was directly linked to the Sept 11,2001 attacks in the United States, from the Simpang Renggam prison has yet to be finalised.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the ministry would leave it first to the Prevention of Terrorism Board to make a report on the matter.

"I have yet to make a decision on it as the board has yet to hold its meeting to hear the case of the detainee in question.

"The board, which is expected to convene soon, will see if the detainee is behaving well while under imprisonment and whether he has changed or not before making their decision," he added.

Muhyiddin, who is Pagoh MP, said this when met after attending a programme with Rela personnel at Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim here on Saturday (Oct 19).

It was reported by Singapore Straits Times that Yazid, 55, a US-trained biochemist, described as an “unrepentent terrorist”, was being held at the Simpang Renggam prison in Johor for two years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota).

The act allows for the detention of a suspect without trial for two years.

The report said Yazid, who has been jailed three times in the past 17 years for terrorism-related activities, once attempted to produce weapons of mass destruction for al-Qaeda.

It also said Yazid acquired four tonnes of ammonium nitrate to prepare for a series of bombings in Singapore in 2000 before the plot by the Jemaah Islamiah terror network was foiled.

According to the report, Yazid attempted to cultivate and load anthrax onto weapons in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

His home in Kuala Lumpur was also used by senior al-Qaeda members for meetings, it said.

In one meeting, they discussed plans to crash planes in the United States on Sept 11,2001.

The Straits Times said Yazid was the only Malaysian with direct links to the attacks.

Yazid, a former army captain, was first arrested in 2002 under the Internal Security Act (ISA). He was released in 2008 after undergoing rehabilitation and showed signs of “remorse” and “repentance”.

He was detained for a second time in 2013 under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), the legislation that replaced the ISA, for recruiting new members for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

This led to a four-year jail sentence in Tapah prison.

In December 2017, Yazid was re-arrested under Pota after the authorities found that he had been recruiting fellow inmates for al-Qaeda while in jail.

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