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MILITANT TIED TO 9/11 ATTACKERS FREED

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said Wednesday it had released suspected terrorist Yazid Sufaat, who has been detained since 2001 after being connected with the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Yazid, a member of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah who was freed from a detention camp in northern Malaysia on November 24, was now safe to be released into society.
"He was considered as a threat to public security in Malaysia because he was part of Jemaah Islamiyah, trying to establish an Islamic government within the region," he told reporters.
"I think after holding him for so long, he can be brought back into society but at the same time we will follow closely everyone that may have ideology (of) militancy or extremism."
Syed Hamid did not say whether Yazid, whose extradition had been sought by the United States after his detention, was under any restriction order that would oblige him to report to police.
A home ministry official told AFP that Yazid was released on November 24.
The minister said five other Malaysian and foreign nationals were freed in December after being held without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA) - a law which human rights groups are pushing to have abolished.
The United States' 9/11 Commission Report has said that Yazid, a US-trained biochemist( The California State University graduate), was tasked by Al-Qaeda to develop a biological weapons programme and spent several months trying to cultivate anthrax at a lab in Afghanistan.
It also said that in 2000 he hosted at his apartment in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur four figures involved in the September 11, 2001 suicide plane attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people.
Syed Hamid said that since he had been appointed home minister in March, the number of ISA detainees had been reduced to 46 from 70.
"From time to time the cases will be reviewed and, as they are reviewed, we will look at the file and if it's time to release them we will do that. We will not hold them any longer than necessary," he said.
As well as suspected terrorists, the ISA has been used recently to detain government critics including the nation's top blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, who was freed in November under a landmark court ruling.
Asia Pacific News
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