Two Malaysian militants held in Guantanamo Bay, the United States’ infamous military prison in Cuba, are unlikely to be among the 22 detainees transferred back to their home or other countries, reported a local portal.
According to The Star Online, intelligence sources said the “long and difficult” transfer process meant it was unlikely that Mohd Farik Amin aka Yazid Zubair, and Mohammed Nazir Lep aka Bashir Lap, would be sent to Malaysia.
Farik and Nazir reportedly had a role to play in the 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 and injured 150 others.
Before this, Daily Mail reported that outgoing US President Barrack Obama was planning to transfer 22 detainees before Jan 20, the date Donald Trump will be sworn in.
The targets for release were reportedly those who have been detained for more than 10 years — and both Farik and Nazir have been there for 10 years and four months.
But intelligence sources The Star Online spoke to ruled out the two being transferred back to Malaysia.
“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,” the source told The Star.
It is understood that the US government was seeking to charge and sentence Farik and Nazir in a US military court but have the remainder of that prison term served in Malaysia.
Another source said the problem with this was that Malaysia didn’t recognise the military court’s authority and that the US didn’t agree with the Prevention of Crime Act, which Malaysia may use to detain the two.
Malaysian police counter-terrorism chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said Farik and Nazir posed a high level of danger, given their involvement in international militant organisations, al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.
He said Farik was an explosives expert, while Nazir specialised in hijacking 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,” said Ayob, who is Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head.
In recent times, a number of Malaysians have left the country to join Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with some even becoming suicide bombers.
Authorities in Malaysia have voiced concerns about returning militants attempting such activities here.
Ayob said that if the two were transferred back to Malaysia, they would be placed in the de-radicalisation programme, which has been proven to be effective.
Last September, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Nazir might be transferred to Malaysia but he would have to continue the de-radicalisation programme in jail. – FMT