Malaysian detained at Guantanamo 'to be transferred'

Deputy PM says if transferred, suspect in fatal 2003 Jakarta bombing to undergo deradicalization at Malaysian prison

Malaysian detained at Guantanamo 'to be transferred'

World Bulletin / News Desk

One of two Malaysians being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba for alleged involvement in a fatal 2003 bombing at the JW Marriot hotel in Jakarta could be transferred to Malaysia, according to a minister Friday.

Malaysia's deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said in a statement that if transferred, Mohamad Bashir Lap -- who has been detained at Guantanamo since 2006 -- will have to continue to undergo a deradicalization process at a Malaysian prison.

Hamidi said the information was conveyed to him during a meeting with the United States' Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure Lee Wolowsky while the deputy premier led a Malaysian delegation to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

"This possibility [transfer] is in tandem with our efforts to bring home the Malaysian detainees in Guantanamo Bay," said Hamidi, who also serves as home minister.

"However, the United States has informed of the possibility of one of them [Mohamad Bashir Lap] being sent back to Malaysia, but he has to continue to undergo the deradicalization process," he underlined.

Lap and fellow Malaysian Mohd Farik Amin have been held at Guantanamo for their involvement with the Jemaah Islamiyah -- al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asia affiliate -- in early 2000, with both identified as suspects in the 2003 JW Marriot bombing that killed 12 people.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has worked to reduce the number of detainees at the prison and currently 61 prisoners remain, down from nearly 800 at its highest.

Last week, however, the House of Representatives passed a bill to block additional transfers of prisoners from the notorious detention facility.

On Friday, Minister Hamidi also advised calmness among Malaysians regarding the transfer, underlining that the move does not mean that Malaysia was colluding in the matter of terrorist activities in any country.

"What is important for us is the government's concern for Malaysian citizens who are detained for a long time without trial in other countries," he said.

Hamidi added that a high-level committee under his chairmanship -- comprise representatives from various ministries and departments as well as security officials -- would be established immediately pertaining to the transfer.

He revealed he had extended an invitation to Wolowsky to visit Malaysia to brief the committee on the requirements and conditions for the transfer of the Guantanamo detainee.

"I am confident the Malaysian deradicalization program can rehabilitate the Malaysian detainee," he stressed.

The Malaysian-tailored program has had a 97.5 percent success rate, earning recognition from international authorities including Interpol as a successful deradicalization mechanism, according to the deputy premier.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Eylül 2016, 12:58