If police questioning fails to prove links to militants, Abdullah says they can go Opposition parties and human rights groups have launched a campaign to pressure the Malaysian government into releasing 13 students, some of whom are just 16 years old. They were arrested and detained without trial nine days ago under the country's draconian security laws, after Pakistani authorities deported them as suspected Islamic militants. Government opponents and the students' parents say the arrest was unjustified. They say the 13 were nothing more than students at the Abu Bakar Islamic University in Karachi. The opposition Alternative Front coalition condemned the arrests as 'brutal and unwarranted'. In a statement they urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to uphold his promise to democratise the country, curb abuse and uphold accountability. But Mr Abdullah defended the arrests saying police needed to question the students to establish the truth of the serious allegations against them. 'If they are innocent they would be released ... I guarantee that,' he said. 'There are allegations they [the students] were selected for militant training in Pakistan.' Local media also quoted unnamed senior police officials as saying the 13 were members of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network and that two of the students had attended lectures on jihad given by wanted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before the September 11 attacks in the US. The officials also said the students had links to suspected JI operations chief Riduan Isamuddin , also known as Hambali - the alleged point man in Southeast Asia for al-Qaeda. Hambali was arrested by Thai police in Bangkok in May and is being held by US authorities at an undisclosed location. One of the students is a younger brother of Hambali. Pakistani police, who arrested the students on September 20, said last month that the students were targeted based on information given by Hambali to his American interrogators. Deputy Minister Chor Chee Heung also told parliament earlier that police believe the students were ear-marked as future leaders of JI, the organisation blamed for bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines since December 2000. Mr Chor also said the parents of some of the 13 students were detained last year for alleged involvement in JI. Malaysia's Human Rights Commission said it would investigate whether the arrests were justified and if they violated the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.