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No decision yet on release of Pota detainee with 9/11 link - Muhyiddin

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The government has yet to decide on the potential release of prisoner Yazid Sufaat, a former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee with links to the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the Prevention of Terrorism Board must first meet to discuss the matter.

Yazid is being held in Simpang Renggam prison under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota), which allows for detention of up to two years without trial. His detention order is set to expire.

"I (as home minister) can’t make the decision until the Prevention of Terrorism Board convenes a meeting where a recommendation will be made based on the detainee’s behaviour while in prison.

“Only then can the Home Ministry make a decision,” he said, according to The Malay Mail today.

This followed a report by Singapore’s Straits Times yesterday that Yazid, 55, could be freed next month.

“The final decision to release him has not been made yet by the Prevention of Terrorism Board, but his detention period will expire this November.

“Whether or not the detention order will be extended, the decision will be made before the expected date of release,” Bukit Aman counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay reportedly said.

He is the only known Malaysian with links to the Sept 11 attacks by Al-Qaeda. His Kuala Lumpur home was used by senior Al-Qaeda members for meetings.

“At one meeting, plans to crash planes in the United States on Sept 11, 2001, were discussed,” the Strait Times reported.

He was also alleged to have provided lodgings for two of the plane hijackers and provided working documents for another.

In 2016, the US-trained biochemist received a seven-year prison term by the High Court here for withholding information on terrorist activities in 2012.

The Straits Times reported that Yazid was re-arrested under Pota in December 2017 for allegedly recruiting inmates to join Al-Qaeda during his time in jail.

He was previously detained under the now-repealed ISA in 2002 and freed in 2008.

In 2000, he was found to have obtained four tonnes of ammonium nitrate, intended for bombing activities in Singapore.

He previously served as a medical technician in the Malaysian army.

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