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Mas Selamat to be held in Malaysia for 2 years

By Wednesday May 27th, 2009 No Comments

A Singaporean Islamic terror suspect recaptured in Malaysia last month will not be extradited to the city state for at least two years, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Mas Selamat Kastari, who was arrested in the southern state of Johor on April 1, is being held under the Internal Security Act for two years “because we need to know more information,” Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters.

The Internal Security Act allows detention without trial for varying periods determined by the government. The detention periods can be extended indefinitely.

Najib called Mas Selamat, the alleged Singapore commander of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, a “threat to national security.”

Asked if Malaysia had informed the city state that it won’t be handing over Mas Selamat, Najib said authorities in the two countries were in touch.

Mas Selamat was incarcerated under Singapore’s version of the Internal Security Law, which is virtually identical to Malaysia’s, when he escaped from a high-security prison in February 2008 by wriggling out a bathroom window. He evaded a massive manhunt and slipped into Malaysia by swimming across a narrow strip of sea that separates the two countries.

He lived undetected in a Malaysian village of about 100 people, rarely going out or mixing with other residents. He was recaptured by Malaysian commandos with the help of Singaporean and Indonesian intelligence agencies.

National news agency Bernama quoted unidentified sources as saying that authorities would discuss the handing over Mas Selamat to the Singaporean authorities toward the end of his two-year detention period.

While in detention, Mas Selamat will undergo a rehabilitation program that includes debating with religious experts on Islam, Bernama quoted the sources as saying.

There is no extradition treaty between the two countries.

Mas Selamat, a Singaporean citizen of Indonesian origin, is alleged to have plotted to hijack a plane and fly it into Singapore international airport.

He was caught by the Indonesian police in 2006 and handed over to Singapore.

Source : AP

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