Malaysia: Two Russians, Sri Lankan Deported Over Alleged Terror Links

Fahirul N. Ramli
2016.05.13
Kuala Lumpur
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160513-my-srilankan620.jpg Officers, their faces blurred by Royal Malaysia Police, escort a 42-year-old Sri Lankan who was arrested after allegedly posting threats online to kill his country’s president and prime minister, April 22, 2016.
Courtesy Royal Malaysia Police

Malaysian police said Friday they had deported two Russians with alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group and a Sri Lankan national who had allegedly posted death threats on social media.

The two unidentified Russian nationals of ethnic Chechen origin, men aged 23 and 25, were arrested on March 28 by the Malaysian police’s counter-terrorism special branch (Bukit Aman) and sent back to Russia on Friday, Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement.

“They previously were detained by Turkish authorities in February for suspected involvement in IS movements in Syria. Both were expelled and managed to find their way into Malaysia in early March,” Khalid said.

The unidentified Sri Lankan, a 42-year-old man who was working as a closed-camera television technician in the Klang Valley, was arrested last month for posting death threats via Facebook against Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Khalid said.

The suspect was on Sri Lanka’s list of wanted fugitives.

“With the help from the Sri Lankan enforcement agency, he was detained on April 22 and deported back home in a special operation five days later,” Khalid said.

Khalid did not into detail about why the three suspects had traveled to Malaysia. All three men were arrested in the state of Selangor.

Chechens are from Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim republic in the North Caucus region that used be part of the former Soviet Union and where separatist conflicts against Russia were fought in the 1990s.

Chechen militants have also been blamed for carrying out acts of terrorism in Russia, and are among foreign fighters that IS has been recruiting for its combat ranks in Iraq and Syria. Malaysian officials say they face a similar threat from IS targeting young Malaysians for recruitment through social media.

Citing intelligence sources, the Home Ministry claimed that more than 130 Malaysians had attempted to join IS in Iraq or Syria. At least 19 Malaysians have been killed while fighting for IS in the Middle East, according to Bukit Aman chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

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