Malaysia Allows Lawyers to Meet Bangladeshi Detained Migrant

Malaysian immigration department has finally allowed the lawyers to meet Bangladeshi migrant Md Rayhan Kabir who was arrested for speaking in a documentary broadcasted by Al Jazeera about discriminatory treatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.

Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna and Selvaraja Chinniah have been appointed as the lawyers for Md Rayhan Kabir and they had earlier sought a date to meet the client.

“Immigration has informed us to meet our client Md Rayhan Kabir tomorrow, 29 July 2020 tentatively at 11am at Immigration, Putrajaya,” Sumitha told Migration News on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Malaysian human rights group has criticised the arrest of a Bangladeshi man featured in an Al Jazeera programme on migrants in Malaysia during the recent lockdown as well as plans to deport him and blacklist him from re-entering the country, calling these “drastic measures”.

In a statement, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said these actions against Rayhan Kabir were unwarranted as the immigration department had yet to explain his offence.

It also accused the authorities of retaliating against Rayhan’s allegations of discrimination, according to Malaysian media report.

“We have scrutinised the statement made by Rayhan in the documentary and firmly restate that he has not said anything even remotely in breach of the country’s laws,” it said, adding that Rayhan was only venting his frustrations and concerns over the crackdown on migrants.

Previously, immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said the authorities had managed to detain Rayhan, 25, whom they had tracked since July 7, in relation to investigations under the Immigration Act 1959/63.

Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador also confirmed two weeks ago that Rayhan’s work permit had been revoked by the immigration department.

On Saturday, Bangladeshi civil society organizations working on migration and development demanded immediate release of a young migrant worker Rayhan.

The leading 21 CSOs expressed deep concern over the arrest as he was arrested on Friday for speaking in a documentary broadcasted by Al Jazeera about the discriminatory treatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.

In a joint statement,  Bangladeshi CSOs urged the country’s High Commission in Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) in Dhaka and concerned international organizations to take necessary action in this regard.

The investigative documentary titled ‘Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown’ was broadcasted on July 3 2020 as part of Al Jazeera’s “101 East” documentary series. It showed that the Malaysian government discriminated against migrants during the epidemic through the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“The evidences shown in the documentary on Malaysia's crackdown on immigrants is reprehensible and deeply troubling. There have been similar allegations in the past against Malaysian law enforcement agencies,” the statement said.

On July 11, the CSOs also issued a statement and called on the Malaysian law enforcement authorities to investigate such allegations and expressed concerns when the journalists of Al Jazeera were called to Malaysia Central Police Headquarter for questioning.

National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh has also asked Foreign Ministry to take necessary action to protect rights of Rayhan Kabir.

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