Brunei Darussalam
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Malaysia intensifies citizens’ repatriation efforts from Guantanamo Bay

PETALING JAYA (ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES) – Putrajaya is ramping up efforts for the release and repatriation of two Malaysian citizens detained over terrorism-related charges in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said he met the US special representative for Guantanamo affairs, Tina Kaidanow, during his official visit to New York.

He said it was the second time he had met Kaidanow to discuss the matter after visiting the two Malaysians, Nazir Lep and Mohamad Farik Amin, in Guantanamo Bay.

During his visit to the detention facility, Saifuddin said he expressed his deep empathy for their situation.

“We will work on expediting their return to Malaysia,” he wrote in a post on X, adding that the government is committed to ensure their safe return.

Nazir and Mohamad Farik were among seven people arrested over alleged involvement in the twin bombings that killed 202 people in Bali in October 2002 and the bombing at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in August 2003.

They were caught in Thailand the same year and transferred to Central Intelligence Agency-operated black sites before being relocated to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

The long-awaited trial of the two Malaysians and an Indonesian co-accused in the 2002 bombings was repeatedly delayed due to the unavailability of qualified Malay translators.

Lead prosecutor George Kraehe recently proposed a trial date of March 2025 for the detainees.

Earlier this year, Nazir’s defence lawyer, Brian Bouffard, expressed frustration over the prolonged delay of the trial, attributing it to the US government’s opposition to the proposed trial date.

In this April 17, 2019 file photo, reviewed by US military officials, the control tower is seen through the razor wire inside the Camp VI detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. PHOTO: AP