[JURIST] The government of Malaysia has asked [Bernama report] the United States to permit its security officials to meet with two Malaysian citizens being held in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], according to state media Saturday. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi [official website] said that he would like to see the two men returned to Malaysia so that they could serve the remainder of their sentences there. The two prisoners, Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, or "Lillie", and Mohd Farik Bin Amin, or "Zubair", [DNI biographies, PDF] are being held because of alleged ties to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive] terrorist group. Both men were picked up in Thailand in 2003 and are considered "high-value detainees" [JURIST news archives]. Abdullah has praised US President Barack Obama for his recent decision [JURIST report] to close down the Guantanamo prison facility within a year.
The actions by Malaysia dovetail with efforts by the US to encourage home countries or even third countries to accept detainees. Many European countries, including Britain, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal [JURIST reports] have already said they would consider accepting released detainees although other countries have been notably reticent [JURIST report]. About 245 detainees remain at the facility, with roughly 60 eligible for transfer or release.