BEIJING_Malaysia’s prime minister praised President Barack Obama on Wednesday for moving to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay but urged him to speed up the process of relocating the inmates.
Malaysia is seeking the return of two of its citizens held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo since September 2006, when they were transferred there from secret CIA prisons.
“It is to Obama’s credit (that) he has come out to say he is going to close down (Guantanamo) … but he has not followed that up with what he is going to do with the inmates,” said Prime Minister Najib Razak said Wednesday during a visit to Beijing.
Najib described the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo as “horrific,” while also defending an anti-terrorism law in his country that allows for detention without trial. He said the Internal Security Act has effectively prevented attacks and “saved countless lives.”
Malaysia’s Internal Security Act, or ISA, has been mostly used to hold terrorism suspects but critics say it also targets political opponents. Najib has called for a review of the law to make its use more open and transparent.
“How we treat ISA detainees is really a walk in the park compared to Guantanamo Bay,” he said. “Guantanamo Bay has been quite a horrific way of treating individuals who many believe happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are of course very hardened extremists there as well. It’s a mixed bag”
The two Malaysians _ Mohd Farik Bin Amin, better known as Zubair, and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, also known as Lillie _ are so-called high-value detainees at Guantanamo. They were captured separately in Thailand in 2003 and have undergone U.S. military hearings to affirm their status as “enemy combatants” eligible for military trials.
Source : AP