Exclusive Interview With Yazid Sufaat, "The Experience In The Thaghut Prison"

06 April 2012

By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

The prison is supposed to be used to detain people who commit crimes. But the prison has been transformed into a confinement for those who really did not deserve to be detained. Detained without trial and an accusation that is legitimate. Yazid Sufaat, a Mujahid from Malaysia, accused of assisting the 9/11 attack and several other charges, is one of the living eyewitnesses who was detained over invalid charges and without trial.

The following is a Malaysiakini interview with Yazid Sufaat conducted by Fathi Aris Omar, Aidila Razak and Salhan K Ahmad on 20/3/2012, which focuses on the ISA, approaching its abrogation, which is expected to be presented in the currently ongoing session of the Parliament. Earlier, the second interview has discussed about the Exclusive Interview With Yazid Sufaat, 9/11 Attack Increased The Number Of Adherents Of Islam. In this third discussion, Yazid told about his experience of being held in the thaghut prison under the Internal Secuirty Act (ISA).


Twisting and turning in his 8ft by 10ft solitary confinement cell in the Kamunting detention camp in Perak one night, former army captain Yazid Sufaat, who is alleged to be an al-Qaeda operative, said he wanted nothing more than to see the a clear sky and the stars.

"One day, in prison, I felt like seeing the stars shining. I had not seen them for three years at that point, for I could not see the sky from my cell. Seeing stars is a gift.

"I prayed, ‘Ya Allah, let me see some stars'. Sometimes we take some things for granted," he said, recalling his seven-year incarceration at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak, under the Internal Security Act 1964.

Sent behind bars without trial for his involvement in jihad activities in December 2001, including the 9/11 attacks in New York, Yazid was kept in solitary confinement for five years.

There, he used blood from the swarms of mosquitoes attacking him in the cell to write Qur'anic verses on the walls, which was sweltering hot at night, leaving him drenched with sweat after performing the solat.

Seemingly still filled with angst over his incarceration, it is this experience in Kamunting that makes him doubt the government's pledge to repeal the ISA.

"If it is working well for them (the government), why should they abolish the law? Maybe they'll change the name, but the contents of the new (replacement laws) will be the same, or even worse," he said.

A biological warfare programme

Among the longest-serving ISA detainees in history, Yazid, currently under travel, asset and arms deals sanctions imposed by the United Nations, believes his incarceration has to do with his "expertise".

Trained as a biochemist on a government scholarship in the United States, this top student of the Royal Military College who retired as a captain with the army was part of a biological warfare programme under the Defence Ministry.

While mostly candid about his involvement with famous characters such as Sheikh Usamah bin Laden (rahimahullah),Yazid was hesitant to reveal details about the government's "secret" programme which was later scrapped, describing it "a long story".

"When they (the police) first took me in, I didn't tell them (about the government programme). I didn't want them to know, didn't want the liability to fall on the government, to pass the buck to someone else.

"Finally, they managed to get a report from their ‘friend' and they wanted me to clear things up. I didn't want to clarify (anything), so they took my wife in," said the father of four.

His wife, Sejahratul Dursina @ Chomel Mohamed, was held under ISA for two months and after this was placed under a movement restriction order for six years.

"If you want to be released from ISA, just follow what they say and admit to all the charges… I refused to do so and they kept me for seven years… because I don't want to sing 'Negara-ku' (national anthem - ed.).

"I don't want to sing. Why should I (when) the country had betrayed me?"
Yazid asked.

The helpers of Thaghut (Satan)

Yazid would wake up at 4am daily to read the Qur'an, and under poor lighting too – a 15-watt light bulb that was only replaced with a fluorescent light outside the cells, after many complaints from the detainees.

When the prison cells were opened at 8am, Yazid said, he would jog in the confinement area, which he said only allowed between 80 to 90 paces, for an hour before tending to his vegetable patch.

"At 11am, we'll be locked up in the cells again so I read the papers, which were full of holes because all the so-called sensitive issues had been cut out," he said.

Yazid was not only interrogated by Malaysian investigators but said he received visits from Indonesian police and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), and that he kept his lips sealed.

"I would go in there, show my face, and not say a thing. I said, ‘If you want to know anything, you ask (the Special Branch)'," he said.

Claiming that some detainees were assaulted while being interrogated, Yazid said himself did not suffer such abuse.

"The Qur'an says that those who believe must conduct jihad in the path of Allah, while non-believers are on the path of the thaghut (satan), so wage war against those who aid the satan. I consider all who had a hand in my arrest as the satan's aides," he said.

Yazid said he could not understand how the ulama's who visited Kamunting could use the Qur'an to justify the ISA.

"In Islam, if you intend to do something good, Allah gives you a reward. Even if you don't do it, but if you intend to do something bad, Allah doesn't penalize you if you don't do it," Yazid said.

"So how can the ISA be justified? It punishes people even for their intentions to do bad. Using the Qur'an to justify ISA… isn't that idiotic? A mufti, who is still alive, has written a book justifying ISA,"
he said.

Still in touch with Jemaah Islamiyah

To this day, Yazid, who confesses to still be in touch with and "helps" old friends who are linked to Jemaah Islamiyah with their "daily needs", denies all the five ISA charges (see chart) that were levelled against him. 

Asked if he was still a threat, he said: "I am not dangerous. I have never been dangerous since day one."

Returning "wild" from California, United States, where he trained to be a biochemist on a government scholarship, Yazid said, he started to ask questions about his religion.

Some time later, he joined the Al-Ehsan Association, a registered Islamic organization to which he ‘donated' his condominium in Sungai Long, Selangor.

"I gave the condo to these people for whatever they wanted to use if for. If a traveller needed lodging, they could use it," he said.

Three of the people who stayed at the condominium were associated with the 9/11 attacks, with one – Zacarais Mousaoui – eventually employed by Yazid, purportedly to market a software developed by Yazid's company, Infocus Tech.

Infocus Tech is one of several Malaysian companies that researchers claim were shell companies set up to raise funds for al-Qaeda.

"Back then, computers and phones didn't talk to each other, so we developed software to integrate them. We developed it for call centres. That kind of thing…

"So, if you ask whether I funded (Mousaoui for 9/11), I'm not going to say yes or no. He was my employee. Let the readers think,"
he said.

Yazid said he hired Mousaoui when the latter, who is from a computer engineering background, asked for help, saying he needed to get a visa for the United States.

"He never told me he wanted to take lessons (in flying planes).

"He asked me if I could help him get a visa to the US. I said, ‘Why not? You take my software there'. So I wrote everything, that he is representing us, etc," he said.

The other two individuals linked to 9/11 who stayed in the Sungai Long condominium were Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi – two of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which slammed into the Pentagon.

The duo, according to the United Nations, had stayed at Yazid's condominium in January 2000 to attend what the UN termed an "al-Qaeda conference" in Kuala Lumpur.

"I was not there. At that time I was in Pakistan and Afghanistan, building a hospital there," Yazid said.

Next to the hospital, he said, was a laboratory where he is accused of developing biological weapons – an accusation not levelled at him during his detention under the ISA, but earning him the moniker "Anthrax CEO". Though the US intelligence doubts that Yazid developed the anthrax strain.

Favourite bugs

But Yazid said that he was in fact "successful" in developing some "bugs", but the laboratory was destroyed when the NATO forces bombed Kandahar.

"I can still find (anthrax) if I want to, but what for? It has no commercial value. Anthrax is only good for sabotaging, it cannot kill.

"It's not my favourite bug, anyway. I'd rather use bacteria or virus that (really) hit you and give you one or two hours before you die.

"Whose handiwork do you think the bird flu was? Scientists, who later couldn't control it," he disclosed.

On the charge of supplying ammonium nitrate to build bombs for an attack in Ambon, Indonesia, Yazid said that it was purely a business transaction between his company, Green Laboratory Medicine, and a Yemeni company.

"The Yemeni company ordered 40 tonnes of it, but I only managed to send four tonnes. The profit was RM1,600 per tonne, so imagine how much I would make with 40 tonnes! It was not my business (to know) what they wanted to do with it.

"I checked with the government if there was restriction to exporting this item, but there was none. Now they're more clever and have placed restrictions on it (ammonium nitrate)," he said.

On the final two charges – funding sectarian violence in Ambon and armed struggles in the southern Philippines – Yazid maintains that he had only provided funds for humanitarian aid.

He said that during his interrogation, he was asked if the funds he sent for "medicine, food and clothes" could be used to buy arms and admitted that there was a possibility.

"Maybe, how am I to know?" said Yazid, who admits that he still "preaches".

The official statement would later read that Yazid confessed to funding arms purchases in southern Philippines, and that the arms were to be brought back to Malaysia to topple the government.

"They can write anything, because under the ISA, nobody is going to challenge whatever they say. This is ISA," he said, adding that he only knew he was associated with Jemaah Islamiyah when he read his charge sheet.

 Months prior to his release, Yazid decided to soften his stand, after his wife implored him to do so, and started singing the Negara-ku.

"They moved me back to stay with the other detainees. There was a fan and I was sick for a week, trying to adjust to this so-called luxury," he said.

No more fears now

Before his release, Yazid said two prayers – one for God to "destroy" his interrogators if they did not repent. The other was for himself.

"I prayed: ‘Ya Allah, give me a sign to show if what I did was right or wrong. Show me when I am released'. So I was pretty nervous.

"The first solat I performed after I was released was the asar solat. I was terrified. Who knows, maybe I really did something wrong? People could spit at me or throw their shoes at me," he said.

Instead, he received a warm welcome from a neighbourhood mosque and when he returned the next day, he was asked to lead the maghrib prayers. They later made him their imam.

"I am now nearing 50, I wasted seven years of my life… but no, I wouldn't say they were wasted.

"I became an adult in the most ignorant place, the
United States, but I matured in prison… Allah got rid of my fears in prison," Yazid said.


©  EsinIslam.Com

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