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Singapore frees suspected militants

world Updated: Mar 13, 2009 11:05 IST

AFP
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Singapore has released two suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group after seven years in detention as they are no longer a security threat, the government said.

Mohamed Ellias and Ja'afar bin Mistooki were freed in January, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. It did not say why the announcement of their release was made more than two months later.

Both men, arrested in December 2001 for alleged involvement in a plot to attack targets in Singapore, were held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

The government said it had foiled the alleged plot with the arrests of several suspected JI militants, whom it said planned to bomb Western targets in the city-state.

"Since their detention in January 2002, Mohamed Ellias and Ja'afar have been cooperative in investigations and shown significant progress in their rehabilitation," the Home Affairs ministry said in its statement dated on Thursday.

Both were also "assessed to no longer pose a security threat that required preventive detention," it said.

Singapore is a staunch US defence ally and is host to thousands of multinational companies, many of which have their regional headquarters in the country.