Malaysian Court Temporarily Bars Bangladeshi Ex-Envoy’s Extradition

Noah Lee and Nisha David
2022.02.15
Kuala Lumpur
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Malaysian Court Temporarily Bars Bangladeshi Ex-Envoy’s Extradition Immigration detainees walk on the premises of the Temporary Immigration Depot in Beranang, in the Malaysian state of Selangor, June 3, 2021.
[S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]

A Malaysian court on Tuesday temporarily stayed the deportation of a former Bangladeshi diplomat, pending a hearing of his applications for a permanent stay and challenging his arrest, which Dhaka says was carried out at its request.

Rieta Rahman, the wife of Md. Khairuzzaman, Bangaldesh’s former high commissioner in Malaysia, filed applications with the court through a team of lawyers, attorney Edmund Bon said in a press statement. In her applications, Rahman said the arrest of her husband, who holds a United Nations refugee agency card, had been politically motivated, local media reported.

Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Zaini Mazlan ordered the government to abide by the court’s ruling, which put Khairuzzaman’s deportation on hold pending a hearing on May 20, Bon said.

“After hearing from the lawyers and since there is no objection from the respondent, a temporary stay is granted until the disposal of the application,” said Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, according to a court brief.

The former ambassador was arrested from his home near Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 9 by immigration authorities, who said he had overstayed his visa. But Bangladesh’s home minister said Dhaka had requested Malaysia to arrest Khairuzzaman, a former army officer, “as he was involved in” the jailhouse killing of former ministers in 1975.

The ex-envoy has yet to get access to a lawyer or be charged, Bon said.

“However, we have written to the immigration authority for us to be given access to Khairuzzaman,” Bon told BenarNews.

BenarNews tried to get a phone number for Rahman, who is said to be in Bangladesh, but was told that she did not wish to comment on the case for safety reasons.

“The wife and family members have moved to a secure location,” said a source who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the case.

“She will not talk to media due to safety reasons,” the source added.

Khairuzzaman and other military personnel were accused of killing four founding leaders of Bangladesh inside the Dhaka Central Jail in November 1975.

The four were ministers serving under the country’s founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the late father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who leads the Awami League party. Mujibur was assassinated in a military coup three months earlier.

In 2004, when Bangladesh was led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is now in the opposition, a court acquitted Khairuzzaman of involvement in the 1975 killings.

Khairuzzaman had been serving as a diplomat in Kuala Lumpur when Hasina returned to power in 2009. Ordered back to Dhaka, he chose to stay in Malaysia and received a refugee card from UNHCR.

Last week, authorities in Dhaka said that the current Awami League government would look into reviving the case against Khairuzzaman, were he to be deported home from Malaysia.

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, Shahriar Alam, the state minister for Foreign Affairs said Dhaka was willing to help the Malaysian government in the court case.

“In this case, the Malaysian government will face the court,” Alam told BenarNews.

“If they need any cooperation to win this case successfully, the Bangladesh government will do it.”

Jesmin Papri contributed to this report from Dhaka.

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