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Malaysian police arrest al Qaeda-linked suspects

Malaysian women protest the Internal Security Act which allows for detention of suspects without trial  

Staff and wires

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysian police have arrested 14 members of an Islamic extremist group linked to the al Qaeda terror network.

The suspects include two Indonesians and the wife of a man accused of helping two September 11 hijackers, Police Inspector General Norian Mai told a news conference on Thursday.

The arrests followed two separate raids on Wednesday and early Thursday.

Mai said two of the suspects are detained in southern Johor state near Singapore, while the rest are held in several districts across western Sengalor state near Kuala Lumpur.

The arrests bring the number of people detained in Malaysia to 38 since authorities launched a crackdown on suspected militants last December under a tough security law.

The Internal Security Act allows authorities to detain without trial anyone it suspects of threatening national security.

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Among those arrested is Sejahratul Dursina, the wife of Yazid Sufaat.

Yazid is a former Malaysian army captain who has been jailed since December on accusations that he allowed al Qaeda members to stay in an apartment he owned in January 2000.

Police seized a laptop computer, notebooks and a mobile phone from Sejahratul's house, her sister, Surihanim Mohamad told the Associated Press news agency.

Surihanim said Sejahratul called her shortly before midnight Wednesday and said she had been arrested about an hour earlier and was being taken to an unknown destination.

Yazid's lawyer, Saiful Izham Ramli, said he would lodge an application before the High Court to force police to file charges against Sejahratul, or release her.

"We believe this detention has no legal basis," he told the Associated Press.

Yazid, and most of the other suspects are accused of belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic extremist group suspected of planning an armed struggle to form an Islamic state across Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines.

Authorities believe the group is responsible for plotting bomb attacks on the U.S. Embassy and other pro-West targets in Singapore.

U.S. and Malaysian officials say that two of the hijackers who crashed a jetliner into the Pentagon on September 11 met in Yazid's apartment in 2000.

The United States also alleged that Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen jailed in the U.S. on charges of conspiracy in the attacks, also received assistance from Yazid in 2000

Yazid denied the allegations.


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