Home minister: Malaysian militant linked to 9/11 won’t be freed next month

PONTIAN, Oct 19 — The Home Ministry today denied that Yazid Sufaat, the Malaysian militant linked to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, could be freed from detention next month.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said it was not true that Yazid will be freed following the expiry of his Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) 2015 detention order as there were other procedures to follow before a decision is made.

“I (as Home Minister) can’t make the decision until the Prevention of Terrorism Board convenes a meeting where a recommendation will be made based on the detainee’s behaviour while in prison.

“Only then can the Home Ministry make a decision,” Muhyiddin said after meeting volunteers and officers from the Pontian People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) here today.

Muhyiddin was responding to an earlier news report that Yazid, a known terrorist, is expected to be released from Simpang Renggam prison in November, where he had spent two years in detention under Pota 2015 which allows authorities to detain a suspect without trial for that period of time.

Earlier today, Singapore-based news portal The Straits Times reported that Yazid who was caught with four tonnes of ammonium nitrate for a planned series of bombings in Singapore in 2000, could be freed from prison in Johor next month.

The 55-year-old US-trained biochemist who is also a member of the Jemaah Islamiah terror network, has been imprisoned three times in the past 17 years for terrorist-related activities.

Pota is an anti-terrorism law that was passed by the government on April 7, 2015. It enables the authorities to detain terror suspects without trial for a period of two years.

The law also does not allow any judicial reviews of detentions. Instead, detentions will be reviewed by a special Prevention of Terrorism Board. The bill has been criticised by opposition elements as a reincarnation of the former Internal Security Act, which was revoked in 2012.

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