NEW YORK, Sept 23 ― Mohamad Bashir Lap, one of the two Malaysians being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp may be transferred to Malaysia but he will have to continue to undergo the deradicalisation process in prison, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said this information was conveyed to him during the meeting he had on Wednesday with Lee Wolowsky, the United States Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.
“This possibility is in tandem with our efforts to bring home the Malaysian detainees in Guantanamo Bay,” Ahmad Zahid, who is also the home minister, told Malaysian journalists yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid had led the Malaysian delegation to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly here.
Mohamad Bashir and Mohd Farik Amin are the two Malaysians being held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp since 2006 for their involvement with the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group in early 2000.
They are also alleged to have been involved in the bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003 and were detained in Bangkok that year.
Ahmad Zahid said the US Periodic Review Board, by consensus, determined that “continued law of war detention of the detainees remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States”.
“However, the United States has informed of the possibility of one of them (Mohamad Bashir) being sent back to Malaysia, but he has to continue to undergo the deradicalisation process,” he said.
As such, Ahmad Zahid said, a high-level committee under his chairmanship would be established immediately pertaining to the matter.
The committee would comprise representatives from the Home Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Defence Ministry, National Security Council, Attorney-General's Chambers, Royal Malaysia Police, Prisons Department and Immigration Department, he added.
Ahmad Zahid said he had extended an invitation to Wolowsky to visit Malaysia to explain to the committee the requirements and conditions on the transfer of the Guantanamo detainee to Malaysia.
“I am confident the Malaysian deradicalisation programme can rehabilitate the Malaysian detainee,” he said, and added that the programme had a 97.5 per cent success rate and was recognised by international authorities including Interpol.
“I informed Wolowsky during our meeting that the Prevention of Terrorism Board undertakes an evaluation of individuals placed under the deradicalisation programme,” he said.
In fact, he said, the Prevention of Terrorism Act provided for the use of the Electronic Monitoring Device or EMD on such individuals.
Ahmad Zahid said relocating detainees to Malaysia did 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. ― Bernama