A Malaysian court has ordered the release of an al-Qaida-linked former army captain and two other suspects charged with inciting terrorist acts.

The verdict underlines the legal limits of a security law introduced last year to replace legislation that allowed indefinite detention without trial.

Authorities invoked the law for the first time in February to arrest three Malaysians suspected of leading efforts to recruit militants who might participate in violence in Syria.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled Monday that the use of the law against the three was unconstitutional because the allegations did not involve a domestic threat.

The suspects include Yazid Sufaat, who previously spent seven years in detention without trial until 2008 after being accused of working on a weapons program for al-Qaida in Afghanistan.