Singapore suspect still at large

BBC News

A year after a suspected Islamist militant leader escaped from jail in Singapore, the authorities there have renewed their promise to catch him.

A worldwide manhunt was sparked after Mas Selamat Kastari fled from custody through a bathroom window.

But Singaporean officials admit they still cannot find him, and analysts believe he will be hiding in a country such as the Philippines or Indonesia.

He was said to be leader of militant group Jemaah Islamiah’s Singapore cell.

Police believe he planned attacks on the US embassy in Singapore and plotted to hijack and crash a plane at the city-state’s international airport.

“The search for Mas Selamat Kastari is still ongoing and it will not stop until he is apprehended, whether in Singapore or overseas,” a spokesman for the ministry of home affairs told AFP news agency.

Kastari was first arrested and imprisoned for immigration offences in Indonesia in 2003, after reportedly going on the run from the Singaporean authorities.

He was extradited to Singapore three years later where he was detained under the city-state’s Internal Security Act – a law which permits indefinite imprisonment without trial.

His escape caused huge embarrassment to Singapore’s government.

According to widely-reported accounts, Mas Selamat Kastari managed to squeeze through the toilet window at his detention centre and climb over a fence while guards waited outside the bathroom.

Jemaah Islamiah, which has links to al-Qaeda, is blamed for the bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002 which left 200 people dead.

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