Twenty one Bangladeshi civil society organizations working on migration and development demanded release and protection of Mohammad Rayhan Kabir who was arrested in Malaysia for speaking in a documentary broadcasted by Al Jazeera.
The CSOs made this demand in a joint statement on Saturday and expressed deep concern over the arrest of the Bangladeshi youth.
The statement said, “We demand Ryhan’s immediate release and protection.”
The CSOs also urged the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) in Dhaka and international organizations concerned to take necessary actions in this regard.
The investigative documentary titled ‘Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown’ was broadcasted on July 3, 2020 as part of Al Jazeera’s “101 East” documentary series.
It showed that the Malaysian government is discriminating against migrants during the epidemic through the Movement Control Order (MCO).
CSO’s statement also said that the evidence shown in the documentary on Malaysia's crackdown on immigrants is reprehensible and deeply troubling.
There have been similar allegations in the past against Malaysian law enforcement agencies, it said.
Earlier on July 11, the CSOs issued a statement urging the Malaysian law enforcement authorities to investigate such allegations and expressed concerns when the journalists of Al Jazeera were called to Malaysia Central Police Headquarter for questioning.
The Immigration Department of Malaysia also issued a search warrant for Rayhan Kabir, 25, who was interviewed in the documentary.
The local administration had issued a summon to seek his personal information and issued a notice in the newspapers and eventually Rayhan was arrested on Friday.
His handcuffed photos were shared in the media and Malaysian authorities on Saturday announced that Rayhan will be deported and banned from entering into Malaysia forever, the statement said.
The CSO’s statement also informed that Rayhan has been staying in Malaysia legally before Malaysian authorities abruptly rejected his work permit for giving the interview.
“An interview with the media is not a crime and Rayhan Kabir did not commit any crime,” said the statement.
Rayhan’s family members and locals in Naryanganj, said as a conscious person Rayhan always expressed his opinion on issues that he deemed unfair.
They also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Bangladesh High Commission of Malaysia to take appropriate measures to protect Rayhan and respect the rights and dignity of all migrants.
This joint statement was issued by Brac, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendro (BNSK), IID Migration Policy Unit, WARBE Development Foundation, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP), Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK), Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA), BASUG, INAFI Bangladesh, Karmojibi Nari, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS), Devcom, Human Rights Support Society (HRSS), Awaj Foundation, Rights Jessore, BILS, Bastob, Film for Peace Foundation, and Migration News.