By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service
March 26, 2007 – A terrorism suspect who admitted to helping to kill 13 civilians, including two children, in a 2002 car bombing in Eastern Africa is in U.S. custody and has been transferred as a "dangerous terror suspect" to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Defense Department official announced today.
Abdul Malik was handed over to U.S. officials by Kenyan authorities and was held for a "short time" before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay over the weekend, a senior defense official said, speaking on background.
Malik was screened by U.S. law enforcement officials while held in custody, the official said. He admitted to participating in the 2002 attack at the Mombasa Paradise Hotel, in which an explosives-filled sport utility vehicle crashed into the hotel lobby, killing 13 and injuring 80. He also has admitted to involvement in the attempted shootdown of an Israeli Boeing 757 civilian airliner carrying 271 passengers, near Mombasa, the official said.
Malik was picked up in Eastern Africa. Prior to the transfer, Malik was not in CIA custody, the official said.
The official said he did not know how long Malik was held in Kenyan custody prior to the transfer.
The next step is for the United States to determine his combatant status. As with all the detainees in Guantanamo, Malik will undergo a combatant status review tribunal, where he will be given the opportunity to review an unclassified summary of the evidence against him and contest his enemy combatant status.
Fourteen high-value detainees were transferred in September to Guantanamo Bay. Before that, the last time an al Qaeda terrorist was moved to the facility was in September 2004.
Malik was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay facility because he represents a significant threat and to prevent future attacks against innocent civilians, the official said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross will be granted access to Malik. About 385 detainees are being held at Guantanamo Bay.
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