Ter­ror mas­ter­mind to stay at Guan­tanamo

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A SOUTH­EAST Asian ter­ror mas­ter­mind who has been ac­cused over a se­ries of high-pro­file at­tacks will stay in de­ten­tion at Guan­tanamo Bay after US of­fi­cials re­jected his bid for re­lease.

A US gov­ern­ment body tasked with re­duc­ing the num­ber of in­mates at Guan­tanamo said that In­done­sian mil­i­tant Rid­uan Isamud­din, bet­ter known as Ham­bali, still rep­re­sented a “sig­nif­i­cant threat to the se­cu­rity of the United States”.

The de­ci­sion is likely to be wel­comed by gov­ern­ments in South­east Asia as signs in­di­cate that the in­flu­ence of the Is­lamic State (IS) has sparked a resur­gency in mil­i­tancy.

Ham­bali, who was cap­tured in 2003 and sent to Guan­tanamo three years later, was be­lieved to be alQaeda’s top rep­re­sen­ta­tive in South­east Asia and op­er­a­tional chief of re­gional mil­i­tant group Je­maah Is­maliyah.

He was ac­cused of help­ing mas­ter­mind the 2002 bomb­ings on the In­done­sian hol­i­day is­land of Bali that left 202 peo­ple dead, and plot­ting other at­tacks in In­done­sia, as well as on US air­lin­ers.

Ham­bali ap­peared be­fore the Pe­ri­odic Re­view Board at Guan­tanamo in Au­gust seek­ing his re­lease after 10 years in de­ten­tion with­out charge.

How­ever the board, in re­ject­ing his re­quest, said that Ham­bali had a “lengthy his­tory as a ji­hadist” and had played a “sig­nif­i­cant role in ma­jor ter­ror­ist at­tacks and plot­ting”.

After US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama un­veiled a roadmap to close Guan­tanamo in Fe­bru­ary, the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment ex­pressed op­po­si­tion to the po­ten­tial re­turn of Ham­bali to the coun­try.

The num­ber of prison­ers at Guan­tanamo, set up on Cuba after the at­tacks on the US on Septem­ber 11, 2001, is down to 60 as Mr Obama seeks to ful­fil a pledge to shut­ter the fa­cil­ity be­fore leav­ing of­fice. –

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