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 Singapore : Terror detainee says foreign JI elements trying to revive group

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Registration date : 2008-01-28

PostSubject: Singapore : Terror detainee says foreign JI elements trying to revive group   Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:06 pm

SINGAPORE: A Jemaah Islamiyah member detained in Singapore has said a group of foreign JI elements is actively trying to revive the clandestine terrorist group.

Rijal Yadri Jumari, 27, revealed this recently while under detention at Singapore's Whitley Road Detention Centre, the same place from where fugitive Mas Selamat Kastari escaped in February.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released the information in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries on the role and function of the detention centre.

The questioning of the detainees at the Whitley Road centre, together with investigations by the Internal Security Department (ISD), has helped authorities track down several Singapore JI members who had fled the country, including Mas Selamat, said the MHA.

Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar has said Mas Selamat's escape is a "serious setback" to the Internal Security Department (ISD), adding that he understood Singaporeans' reaction of shock and alarm because there must have been a serious security lapse at the detention centre for the escape to happen.

But Professor Jayakumar called on Singaporeans not to overlook the outstanding work done by the ISD in the past in keeping Singapore safe.

The MHA has released more information on such work, especially the arrests of terrorists that resulted from the sharing of information gathered at the Whitley Road Detention Centre.

For instance, the Bali bombers - Amrozi and his brother, Indonesian JI leader Mukhlas - and others involved in the Indonesian resort attack were arrested by Indonesian authorities, with the help of information gathered from detainees at the Singapore centre.

Other arrests that resulted from such sharing of information included JI bomb maker Fathur Rohman Al Ghozi, who was captured in the Philippines, and Al-Qaeda operative "Sammy", who was identified as Mohd Mansour Jabarrah by the ISD, leading to his arrest in Oman.

Detainees in Singapore have also testified in the trials of terrorists linked to the US attacks on September 11, 2001.

Besides detention and intelligence gathering, another aspect of work at the Whitley Road detention centre is rehabilitation, the MHA said.

No filming has ever been allowed inside the premises, but the MHA shared some parts of the rehabilitation work.

For example, the centre allows weekly visits by family members and during such visits, detainees can wear their own clothes. Religious counselling is also conducted in the centre and detainees are encouraged to practise their religion.

The MHA's point is that the environment in the detention centre is not meant to be a punishing one but one which helps rehabilitate detainees.

A website has been launched by the Religious Rehabilitation Group - Muslim religious scholars who counsel JI detainees. Several detainees have acknowledged the help given to their families by this group.

While Channel NewsAsia's news team were not allowed access to any former detainee, the MHA obtained a quote from one who has renounced armed jihad. He said he is gratified for the support given to his family during his detention, adding "I have no excuse not to reciprocate by contributing to society".

The MHA also revealed that another former JI detainee had said that times were difficult for his family during his detention, but he continued to receive strong support from his wife and children.

He also appreciated the religious counselling and regarded his religious counsellor as a fatherly figure. The ex-detainee told authorities that he felt indebted to his religious counsellor for the advice given.

While the information released has given some insight into the work at the detention centre, there are questions still unanswered.

Parliament will sit on Monday, and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng is likely to respond then.
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