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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Malaysia frees six more militant suspects - report

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Malaysia freed on Thursday six more people held without trial under the country's tough internal security laws over suspected ties to militants, state news agency Bernama said.

The six freed had been suspected of links to the Jemaah Islamiah militant group, Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum said, a day after the government released 11 people who had also been detained over suspected ties to militants.

"The decision to free them was made after the government was satisfied that they are no longer a threat to national security," Johari was quoted as saying.

The gesture comes ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the festival next week to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month observed by a majority of Malaysia's population of about 26 million.

Malaysia has used the Internal Security Act, a legacy of its counter-insurgency campaign against the communists during British colonial times, to lock up dozens of suspected Islamic militants since Sept. 11, 2001.

Jemaah Islamiah, an Indonesia-based militant group pushing for creation of an Islamic superstate across parts of southeast Asia, is blamed for a series of bombings in the region in recent years, including the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people.
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