KUALA LUMPUR: The government has yet to decide whether to bring back two Malaysians detained over terrorism-related charges at the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.
Speaking to reporters, home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said discussions with American authorities are still at the preliminary stage.
“It is still in the early stages. We’ve only just started negotiations with the US authorities,” he said.
“The government will inform (the public) if there are any updates,” he said at the ministry’s Madani programme in Bandar Tun Razak here.
On Sept 25, Saifuddin said the government would expedite efforts to bring home two Malaysians detained in Guantanamo Bay, Nazir Lep and Farik Amin, both of whom were arrested on suspicion of terrorism 20 years ago.
Various news portals said Saifuddin raised the matter in a meeting with Special Representative for Guantanamo Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, during his recent trip to New York.
Nazir and Farik were nabbed in Thailand in 2003 following a bombing at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in August that year.
They are also suspected of being involved in the twin bombings that killed 202 people in Bali in October the previous year, Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack to date.
Following their arrest, they were put under solitary confinement at secret CIA-operated black sites, before being moved to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.
It was only in August 2021 that they were charged together with Indonesian Encep Nurjaman, better known as Hambali, the alleged mastermind of the bombings.
However, the trial could not proceed as the US government could not provide qualified Malay translators.
When asked if the government wanted Nazir and Farik to undergo a deradicalisation programme and be detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) if they return to Malaysia, Saifuddin said such speculation was premature.
“The duo have yet to reach Malaysia, hence, we have not reached that stage,” he said.
“The government also has not met them or examined their profile and current conditions (for them to undergo a deradicalisation programme).”