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

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday)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 - DAP National Chairman