PETALING JAYA: A Bangladeshi human rights activist who was arrested when he flew into Malaysia with a valid visa last week has claimed that he saw several other travellers from his country being detained under trying conditions despite possessing proper documents.
Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary of the rights group Odhikar, also said he was forced to fork out US$100 (RM429) to get food while in detention at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) during the ordeal.
The Bangladeshi Supreme Court advocate, who was later deported by the Malaysian immigration department, said detainees who could not afford to pay the amount had to consume water only.
Adilur was quoted by the Dhaka-based The Daily Star news portal yesterday as saying that a good number of “Bangladeshis are being detained and harassed like him at the airport without showing any reason despite having legal documents”.
“Even the Malaysian authority does not mention any reason for the detention,” he reportedly told a press conference in Dhaka yesterday.
He also alleged they were not provided anything to eat if they did not pay.
“I paid $100 to get some food, tea and a soup,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that he saw many detainees who did not have money in their possession to buy food. “I saw some were only drinking water to survive,” he reportedly said.
Adilur also said he did not know the actual reason behind the action taken on him.
“I was detained at Kuala Lumpur airport despite having valid documents. I still do not know the actual reason behind my detention and deportation,” he was quoted as saying.
In a statement on Thursday, the immigration department said Adilur was found to be “listed among the individuals banned from entering (Malaysia).”
He was deported at 8.05pm after having been detained at the immigration counter upon landing at about 4am that day.
Adilur had travelled to Malaysia to attend a conference titled “Abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia and in Asia-Pacific” held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on July 21 and 22.
Meanwhile, in a statement on its website on Friday, Odhikar gave a detailed account of what he allegedly went through.
It said he was locked in a large room that could only be opened by an electronic password which had about sixty people, with many of the foreigners being from Bangladesh.
It said Adilur was told by the Bangladeshis there that their families did not know where they were, and that the officials were taking money in exchange for phone calls.
“The only toilet facility in the lockup was filthy and insufficient for the number of people in the room,” it said.
The statement also said a young woman, who had travelled to Malaysia to be with her husband who was working here for over 11 years, had been issued with a visa by the Malaysian embassy in Dhaka, but was detained as well and deported to Dhaka with Adil.