By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) today claimed that 14 people, including a Malaysian, were being held under the recent Internal Security Act (ISA) swoop, as opposed to the 10 announced by the Home Ministry yesterday.
It identified nine of the detainees as Azzahari Murad (Malaysia); Aiman Al Dakkak (Syria); Mohamed Hozifa (Syria); Kutiba Al-Issa (Syria); Khalid Salem (Yemen); Luqman Abdul Salam (Nigeria); Hassan Barudi (Syria); Hussam Khalid (Jordan); and Abdul Alhi Bolajoko Uthman (Nigeria).
It has yet to determine the identities of the remaining three while another two were detained earlier. GMI said the 14 were part of 50 detained in a security operation in Sungai Cincin, Gombak near here, GMI chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh disclosed today
Syed Ibrahim told reporters that all 50 were picked up on Jan 21, after having stayed there since 2003.
“So they are not foreigners who have just arrived here,” he said, disputing Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s statement that those detained had just come to Malaysia and were part of an international terror ring.
Syed Ibrahim disclosed that of the 50 picked up, all but 12 were released at 3am the next day.
“From the 12, GMI obtained nine names and we are trying to establish the [identities of the] other three and two more we just found out today,” he added.
He said the latter two were identified as Abdullah Ahmad Alsehine (Saudi Arabia) who was detained on Jan 17, and Ibrahim (Nigeria) who was initially detained on Jan 21.
“Ibrahim has yet to be detected with the other four until now,” he added.
Syed Ibrahim also said information from the Saudi Arabian embassy showed that Abdullah was still in the country.
A witness to the security operation, Muhammad Yunus Zainal Abidin, 25, who was also at today’s press conference, recounted how armed policemen had burst into the house at about 9.30pm that night, disrupting the study session led by Aiman.
“They said: ‘Ini operasi keselamatan dalam negeri’ (this is a home affairs security operation),” Yunus told reporters.
It is understood that this is the first time that a large number of foreign students have been detained under the ISA since the Sept 11 attacks in the United States.
“Using the ISA to get forced confessions and creating a plot without proof is unfair.
“ISA is the easiest tool to shift international pressure by making foreign nationals, in this case [from] the Middle East, as the scapegoats,” he added.
“GMI believes that the new detentions may have been initiated in response to international pressure on terrorist threats in Malaysia,” said Syed Ibrahim.
“It might be related to the US travel advisory two weeks ago about criminals and terrorists targeting foreigners in east Sabah or to what is happening in the US and UK,” he said.
“But nothing can be confirmed,” he said, and added that he will raise the issue directly with Hishammuddin this afternoon at the government briefing on itst plans to revamp the ISA.
Syed Ibrahim added that the latest developments showed double standards by the government, which has promised to reform the ISA.
The ISA is a preventive security law that allows for detention without trial.
Media reports today said that those detained were linked to the Nigerian underwear bomber who tried to detonate explosives aboard a US-bound flight last Christmas Day.