Wrong to deny award-winning Bangladeshi activist entry into Malaysia

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Adilur Rahman Khan

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) is appalled by the unjustifiable detention of human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan by the immigration authorities at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at about 4.00am on 20 July 2017.

Being a Bangladesh citizen, he did not enjoy a visa on arrival when he arrived in Malaysia. As such, he needed to apply for a visa from the Malaysian High Commission in Bangladesh, before he could leave Bangladesh and come to Malaysia. Such visas are never simply issued as of right, but only after a thorough vetting of the applicant and his reasons for coming to Malaysia.

As such, the arrest and detention of Adilur Rahman Khan is most unjust and unreasonable. If the Malaysian government did not want Adilur Rahman Khan to enter Malaysia, they should never have issued him the required entry visa in Bangladesh.

In the past, Malaysia has also sadly prevented human rights defenders like Singaporean Han Hui Hui and Indonesian Mugiyanto Sipin from entering Malaysia but they were from countries whose citizens had to get their visa on arrival when they reached Malaysia, whereas Adilur Rahman Khan had to first apply and obtain his visa from the Malaysian embassy (in Bangladesh) before travelling to this country. As such, this makes his current arrest, detention and deportation back to Bangladesh most unjust.

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“We detained him over immigration issues. We are checking his documents. Adilur will not be allowed to enter Malaysia. He will be deported,” Malaysian immigration officer Shely was quoted as saying. (Dhaka Tribune, 20 July 2017). This is absurd, as any immigration issues should have been considered before the Malaysian High Commission issued him his visa.

Adilur Rahman Khan, the secretary of the Bangladeshi human rights organisation Odhikar, who is also a member of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (Adpan), was coming to Malaysia to attend the general assembly of Adpan on 20 July 2017 and then the Abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia and in Asia” Malaysia national conference and training workshop on 21-22 July 2017.

Razali Ismail, chairperson of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was due to deliver the keynote address at this national conference. The minister Azalina Othman Said had also been invited to deliver a keynote address.

Adilur Rahman Khan is also currently a member of the OMCT General Assembly and a FIDH vice president. He was also awarded the 2014 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

As such, Madpet:

  • calls for the Malaysian government to immediately release Adilur Rahman Khan and allow him to enter Malaysia;
  • calls on Malaysia to adequately compensate for all the suffering and deprivation of rights suffered by Adilur Rahman Khan, by reason of the detention of him at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport;
  • calls on Malaysia, in the event that Adilur Rahman Khan is prevented entry and is subsequently deported, to apologise to him for all the suffering and rights violated brought about by most likely the failings of the High Commission of Malaysia in Bangladesh and to pay him a just compensation;
  • calls on Malaysia to stop denial of entry into Malaysia of human rights defenders and to abide by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms).
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Charles Hector issued the above statement on behalf of Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Tortur (Madpet)

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