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Guardian: M'sia May Extradite Suspects - LKS: No Extradiction but Public Trial
By Lim Kit Siang

6/2/2002 12:46 am Wed

[Rencana ini juga turut tersiar di Washington Post. Jangan lupa membaca komen menarik oleh Lim Kit Siang. - Editor] story/0,1280,-1496520,00.html

Malaysia May Extradite Suspects

Tuesday February 5, 2002 12:10 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia will comply with an extradition treaty with the United States only if it is satisfied with the evidence against the suspects, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

``If there is not enough proof, we will not surrender the suspect to the U.S.,'' Mahathir said Monday during a visit to New York, the Bernama national news agency reported.

That statement appears to allow for the extradition of Yazid Sufaat, a Malaysian jailed for allegedly belonging to a local militant group and helping three plotters involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

It also contradicted a statement made hours earlier by Mahathir's deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, that appeared to rule out handing Yazid over to U.S. officials.

Mahathir, who personally steers government policy on important issues, said an extradition treaty existed between the United States and Malaysia.

If the United States presented enough proof of a person's involvement in planning or carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States, then the treaty may require Malaysia to turn that person over to U.S. authorities, Mahathir said, according to Bernama.

Rais Yatim, Malaysia's law minister, was cited in local media Tuesday as saying the government had not received a formal U.S. request to extradite Yazid.

The New York Times, citing unidentified officials, reported last week that Washington was negotiating for Yazid's extradition to face charges in the United States. A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Kuala Lumpur declined comment.

Yazid was one of 23 recent arrests in what officials say was a crackdown on a local Islamic group with ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy and other targets in neighboring Singapore.

Police have not charged Yazid with any crime but are holding him under a security law allowing for indefinite detention without trial. Authorities accuse the militant group of threatening national security.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Yazid is cooperating with police and has provided details of meetings he held with two Sept. 11 hijackers and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is charged in the United States with conspiring in the attacks.

Malaysian officials said Yazid hosted Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaz al-Hazmi at an apartment outside Kuala Lumpur in January 2000. Al-Midhar and al-Hazmi were on the American Airlines plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Moussaoui also was Yazid's guest during a visit to Malaysia in September 2000. Officials say Yazid signed a letter naming Moussaoui as the U.S. and European representative of a Malaysian computer software company.

Yazid Sufaat - no extradition to US, no ISA but public trial

Media Statement by DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 5th February 2002:

DAP supports government stand against extradition of Yazid Sufaat to the United States and may be to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay but wants him to be charged and tried in open court

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that Malaysia will not hand over former army captain Yazid Sufaat, 37, to the United States to face charges in Washington in connection with September 11 terror attacks because Yazid had committed an offence by formulating plans to topple the Government in Malaysia by militant force.

He said: "To us his actions are a serious offence and we must take action against him according to the laws of our country".

DAP supports the government stand against the extradition of Yazid Sufaat to the United States and may be to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba but wants him to be charged and tried in open court for the offence of attempting a violent overthrow of the elected government as alleged by Abdullah.

It is most disappointing that Abdullah had not, in his first task in discharging the duties of the Prime Minister in the one month that Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has taken leave, to instruct the police to introduce a "smart" media policy and to end the present ridiculous situation where Malaysians have to depend on the international media to get information about police investigations about al-Qaeda operatives, networks and activities in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

From international media reports, it is clear that the information which the United States administration has received about Yazid Sufaat and which prompted their bid to extradite Yazid came from the Malaysian police investigations.

The New York Times of February 3 , for instance quoted an unnamed "senior Malaysian official" as saying that the Malaysians have shared the information from the interrogation of Sufaat with the United States, but the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has not interviewed Sufaat.

The Washington Post of February 3, after being briefed by the same unnamed "senior Malaysian official", described Yazid as a "trusted lieutenant" of Hambali, described as the "point man for al Qaeda in this region".

Hambali or Riduan Isamuddin, 36, who had been earlier described by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai early last month as one of the three "directing figures" of Kumpulan Militant Malaysia (KMM) and Jemaah Islamiah, had been on the Malaysian police wanted list as far back as August last year.

There is no reason why Malaysia should extradite Yazid to the United States, and probably to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, based on the information given by the Malaysian police to United States intelligence arising from the interrogation of Yazid after his detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Yazid should not be standing trial in the United States but in Malaysia, especially as Abdullah has accused him of the heinous crime of planning to topple the goverhnment by militant force.

Yazid, who had just been sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre, should be released under the ISA and be put on trial, giving him a chance to clear himself of the serious crime of trying to bring about the violent overthrow of the elected government as alleged by Abdullah.

The time has also come for Abdullah to focus on the ridiculous media policy of the Malaysian government and police where Malaysians must read about news about investigations of al Qaeda operatives, networks and activities in the country in the foreign media - and lift the ban, visible or invisible, imposed on the local media from full coverage of this important issue.

- Lim Kit Siang -