Malaysia High Court stays Khairuzzaman’s deportation

The card the UNHCR gave to M Khairuzzaman

Malaysia High Court has stayed the deportation of Bangladesh's former high commissioner to Malaysia Mohamed Khairuzzaman.

The court on Tuesday asked the immigration department of Malaysia not to hand over Khairuzzaman to the Bangladesh authorities.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Khairuzzaman's wife Rieta Rahman said the Malaysia High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Tuesday passed this interim order after a hearing on the habeas corpus case.

A report of Free Malaysia Today, a local news portal, quoted Justice Zaini as saying, "I don't want to hear that he has been deported against this court order that I have granted."

The court also set 20 May to hear Khairuzzaman's writ petition.

The Free Malaysia Today report also said Khairuzzaman, 65, is wanted in Bangladesh for undisclosed reasons, but his wife, Rieta Rahman, had contended that his arrest was politically motivated by the Bangladesh government.

Immigration police of Malaysia arrested Khairuzzaman on 9 February morning from Ampang town in Selangor state of the country. Malaysia's home minister Hamzah Zainudin confirmed his arrest.

Mohamed Khairuzzaman’s lawyer AS Dhaliwal told FMT that his client is a political refugee. He is a UNHCR cardholder and has not broken any law regarding immigration. That’s why arresting him is an illegal act.

“My client has valid travel documents and was not even working here, he was just at home. He is a political refugee and Malaysia has no right to deport him,” he told FMT.

Earlier, on Friday, a Kuala Lumpur court in Malaysia had temporarily barred the deportation of Khairuzzaman. Now the High Court of the country has stayed the deportation.

Mohamed Khairuzzaman was a former army official, who was made a diplomat during the time of military government on deputation.

Malaysian home minister Hamzah Zainudin told a press conference on Thursday that there are allegations of Khairuzzaman’s involvement with crimes committed in Bangladesh. He was arrested, following all the procedures, as the country requested.

After several hours, contradicting the statement of Malaysian home minister Hamzah Zainudin, Bangladesh’s state minister for home affairs, Shahriar Alam told media that Malaysian home ministry sent a letter to the Bangladesh high commission in Kuala Lumpur saying that Khairuzzaman was arrested due to violation of the Malaysian laws related to immigration. “The government is working to bring back the former high commissioner as soon as possible.”

M Khairuzzaman is a former army officer. He was one of the main accused in the murder of four national leaders -- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, M Mansur Ali and AHM Kamaruzzaman -- inside the central jail on 3 November 1975. Later, he was transferred to the foreign ministry.

Besides working at the foreign ministry in Dhaka, M Khairuzzaman worked at different posts of Bangladesh missions in Myanmar, Egypt and Philippines.

Upon coming to power in 1996 the Awami League government sent him on retirement and arrested as an accused in the jail killing case.

When the BNP-Jamaat alliance formed the government in 2001, M Khairuzzaman secured bail and got back his job. He was appointed as the director general of the foreign ministry.

Later, in 2004, M Khairuzzaman was acquitted from the jail killing case. In the next year he was appointed to the Bangladesh embassy in Myanmar. In August 2007, he was appointed as Bangladesh High Commissioner in Malaysia.

When Awami League formed government again in 2009, Khairuzzaman was ordered to return home. But he has been staying in Malaysia since then.

Later, Khairuzzaman acquired the refugee status given by UNHCR. The UNHCR gave him a card in March 2020 in this regard. The expiry date of the card is 2024.