Nine nabbed in anti-terror raids in Malaysia, Latest World News - The New Paper

Nine nabbed in anti-terror raids in Malaysia

This article is more than 12 months old

One suspect was an Egyptian lecturer with ties to ISIS, Al-Qaeda members

PETALING JAYA: Nine suspects, including Egyptians and Tunisians, were detained following an anti-terror swoop in the Klang Valley and Sarawak, Malaysian police said.

The Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects were arrested by the Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division between Feb 2 and 9.

Among the suspects were two Malaysians (a man and a woman), six Egyptians and a Tunisian man. The Egyptians and Tunisian have been deported and blacklisted from entering the country.

A 42-year-old Egyptian lecturer was among the suspects, The Star reported.

He was a lecturer in one of the religious schools in the country and had ties to two Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Al-Qaeda members who were arrested in Kuala Lumpur last year.

IGP Mohamad Fuzi said the operation was launched after police received intelligence on the presence of suspected militants from the terrorist group Ansar al-Shariah al-Tunisia, which is a part of the Al-Qaeda terror network in North Africa.

He said the Egyptians admitted that they were members of Ikhwanul Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) and had acted as facilitators by providing accommodation, transportation, and work, and helped with purchasing flight tickets for two members of Ansar al-Shariah al-Tunisia.

IGP Mohamad Fuzi said the investigation by the Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division found these foreign terrorist fighters were trying to make Malaysia a safe haven.

They planned to use it as transit destination and a logistics centre by using legitimate or false documentation, marrying locals to obtain a spouse visa, exploiting education facilities, or by doing business in the country.

"We view seriously the infiltration of foreign terrorist fighters in the country due to the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

"These foreign terrorist fighters could also set up base here to attack another country, or by even launching attacks in Malaysia," he said.

Amnesty International Malaysia said the Egyptians deported were now at risk of enforced disappearance, torture, prolonged detention and unfair trials, Reuters reported.

"We urge the Malaysian government to respect the principle of non-refoulement and ensure that those at risk of persecution or risk of irreparable harm in another country, including torture, are not deported," said the group's executive director, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.

Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty executive director Latheefa Koya tweeted: "The four Egyptians are members of jailed (former Egyptian president Mohamed) Morsi's party and are being persecuted for their political beliefs.

"It's shocking that the government has deported persecuted persons to a regime that practises torture and killings.

"(Their) families and lawyers were denied information and kept in the dark throughout."