PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) today slammed the arrest of Bangladeshi human rights activist Adilur Rahman Khan, saying this is not the first time the government has barred peaceful activists from entering the country.
Calling Khan “the latest target of a growing trend to impose travel bans on rights activists entering Malaysia”, the NGO said he had also been denied access to his lawyer.
“Previously, Hong Kong political activist Joshua Wong, Indonesian human rights defender Mugiyanto Sipin and most recently, Singaporean political activist Han Hui Hui were prevented from visiting the country,” AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said in a statement today.
“We call for the immediate release of Khan, and an end to the use of travel bans against human rights defenders which further stigmatises their work, and limits their ties with the global human rights movement.”
Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 meanwhile said Khan’s arrest was “an embarrassment” to Malaysia on the world stage.
“Given his recognised dedication to the promotion of human rights and democracy, such an individual should be welcomed to share his experiences and knowledge, instead of being treated as a threat to national security,” it said in a statement today.
The coalition also demanded an explanation from the director-general of the Immigration Department and the home ministry on the reason for Khan’s arrest and ongoing detention.
Khan was detained by immigration officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at about 4am today. Khan is the secretary of Odhikar, a human rights NGO based in Bangladesh.
He had travelled to Malaysia to attend a conference on the topic of “Abolition of the death penalty”.