3 M'sians held under new security law

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Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - Two men and a woman have been detained under Malaysia's Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 for suspected terror activities the first time the Act is being used since its enactment.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar confirmed the arrests in a statement, saying that the three locals were detained for allegedly masterminding the recruitment of Malaysians for terror activities.

"We are still investigating the matter and their detention is in accordance with the Penal Code," he said.

Although he did not name the suspects, the lawyer for one of the detainees revealed the two of them to be Yazid Sufaat and Mohd Hilmi Hasim.

Yazid was earlier detained for seven years since Dec 2001 for his alleged links to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network while Mohd Hilmi is said to be his co-worker.

The third suspect is a woman identified as Halimah Husin, in her 30s.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the three suspects allegedly had extensive terror links and were considered "high-level threats".

"We believe that their links to terrorism and militancy were not only confined to Malaysia but also overseas," he said at a press conference in Putrajaya after presenting Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) aid to ministry staff.

Hishammuddin said that the preventive arrests made for the first time under the new law proved that Malaysia had adequate powers to deal with potential threats to national security.

According to Yazid's lawyer, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, the police arrested Yazid and Mohd Hilmi at the cafeteria in the Jalan Duta courts complex at around 12:30pm.

She said police later took Yazid back to his house in Taman Bukit Ampang and conducted a search from 1:30pm to 5:30pm, during which they seized several books.

She did not have much details on the other two detainees except that Mohd Hilmi was from Kuala Lumpur and had begun working at the cafeteria run by Yazid's wife.

Later at another function, Ismail said that the suspects would be remanded at the Ampang magistrate's court today.

The Security Offences Act was created to replace the ISA which was repealed by the Government in 2011.

Unlike the ISA, the Security Offences Act strips the authorities of absolute power over security offences, instead outlining a specific time frame for the authorities to establish their case and produce the accused in court to be charged.

Human rights group Suaram said that under the Act, the three can be detained for 48 hours without access to lawyers.


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