KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia 27 Jul 2020
Malaysian authorities said Saturday they detained a Bangladeshi man and will deport him for criticizing the government over its treatment of undocumented immigrants in a documentary by news broadcaster Al-Jazeera.
Mohamad Rayhan Kabir has been on the run after police launched an investigation in the July 3 documentary following complaints that it was inaccurate and biased. Al-Jazeera has defended its journalism.
The Immigration Department said Rayhan, 25, was arrested by its intelligence unit on Friday. The department had earlier revoked his work permit.
“This Bangladeshi national will be deported and blacklisted from entering Malaysia forever,” immigration Director-General Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in a brief statement.
The Daily Star newspaper in Bangladesh quoted Rayhan Kabir as saying in a WhatsApp message shortly before he was arrested that he did not commit any crime.
“I did not lie. I have only talked about discrimination against the migrants. I want the dignity of migrants and my country ensured. I believe all migrants and Bangladesh will stand with me.”
Police have grilled a group of reporters and staff from Al-Jazeera and said they would submit their findings to prosecutors for further action. Authorities also said Al-Jazeera failed to apply for a license before shooting the documentary, but the broadcaster said it didn’t need one.
Al-Jazeera has called for the right to report freely without intimidation and urged Malaysia to drop the criminal investigation.
Rights activists have voiced concern over a clampdown on freedom of speech and media independence under new Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who took power in March. ( AP )