Rayhan Kabir, a young Bangladeshi who was arrested in Malaysia, was finally released and he left for Dhaka on a Malaysian Airlines flight yesterday. He was scheduled to land in Dhaka at 1:00am today.
Malaysian immigration department Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said Rayhan, who was featured in an documentary of international news channel Al Jazeera, would be sent home via a flight from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
“The deportation team will be transporting Md Rayhan to KLIA at 9:00pm,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Rayhan’s lawyer in Malaysia Sumita Santini Kisna also communicated the updates to The Daily Star before the flight yesterday. She said Rayhan was taken straight to the airport from the Putrajaya immigration office on Friday afternoon. After completing all the procedures, he boarded a plane at 11:00pm local time in Malaysia.
Earlier, he had tested negative for Covid-19. Since the Malaysian police have not filed any complaint against Raihan, he did not face any legal troubles in coming back home.
Rayhan’s father Shah Alam told The Daily Star, “He is on the way to airport. We are eagerly waiting for our Rayhan to come to us. I can’t explain this joy.”
On July 3, Al Jazeera published an investigative documentary titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”. It raised the issue of the government’s repressive treatment of migrant workers in Malaysia during the lockdown. In the documentary, along with the citizens of many other countries, Rayhan gave an interview, which angered the Malaysian authorities.
A warrant was issued against Rayhan Kabir and he was arrested by Malaysian police on the evening of July 24. After 14 days of interrogation, the police produced him before court on August 8.
The court granted a 13-day remand after the police wanted a 14-day remand. After the remand ended on Wednesday, police said there were no charges against him.
Immigration police then decided to send him back to Bangladesh.
Rayhan was informed on Friday morning that he would be sent back to the country at night.
Rayhan’s luggage and other necessary items were brought there and his ticket was confirmed.
Before his arrest, Rayhan sent a WhatsApp message where he said, “I 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.”
Even during interrogation, Rayhan told the Immigration Police that he spoke about what he had seen and that was his own observation. But he did not want to hurt Malaysians.
Various international and Bangladeshi organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemned the arrest and demanded Rayhan’s immediate release.
Rayhan’s family of four lives in Narayanganj’s Bandar upazila. Locals said Rayhan tried to help everyone. He used to help the students with his books and money. He was very vocal against drug abuse in the area.
The writer is a freelance journalist