Lawyers for Liberty refers to a news report that a former Bangladeshi High Commissioner, Mohammmed Khairuzzaman, is currently detained by law enforcement authorities in Malaysia.
The home minister indicated that the arrest was made upon the request of the Bangladeshi government.
This raises grave concerns that Khairuzzaman, who is a refugee, may be deported back to his home country.
Irrespective of the reason for his arrest, which the home minister suspiciously refuses to disclose, Khairuzzaman’s refugee status must preclude him from being repatriated.
The government should be well aware that Malaysia is bound by the principle of non-refoulement, a key principle of international human rights law which prohibits the return of individuals to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or other irreparable harm.
As a political refugee, there is no doubt that Khairuzzaman would face severe consequences if he was sent back to Bangladesh. It should be noted that credible international organisations have recorded unlawful killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention as well as political show trials ending in executions occurring regularly in Bangladesh.
We call upon that the home minister and Malaysian government to respect international human rights norms and basic human decency in dealing with this case.
Khairuzzaman must be released from custody immediately and be accorded the protection he is entitled to as a political refugee.
Zaid Malek is head coordinator of Lawyers for Liberty