Rayhan Kabir returning home tonight from Malaysia

Rayhan Kabir. Photo: Video grab

Rayhan Kabir, a young Bangladeshi arrested in Malaysia, has finally been released and is leaving for Dhaka on a Malaysian Airlines flight at 11:00pm local time (Kuala Lumpur). He is scheduled to land in Dhaka at 1:00am.

Malaysian Immigration department Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said Md Rayhan Kabir, who was featured in the Al Jazeera documentary titled "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown", will 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 today.

Rayhan's lawyer in Malaysia Sumita Santini Kisna communicated the updates to The Daily Star. She said Rayhan was being taken straight to the airport from the Putrajaya immigration office on Friday afternoon. After completing all the procedures, he would be boarding the plane. Earlier, his coronavirus test came negative.

Since the Malaysian police have not filed a complaint against Rayhan, he did not face any legal trouble.

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. 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 also gave an interview, which angered the Malaysian authorities.

A warrant was issued against Rayhan Kabir. He was arrested by Malaysian police on the evening of July 24. After 14 days of interrogation, the police produced him in court on August 8. The court granted a 13-day remand if 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. Earlier, his luggage and other necessary items were brought there and his ticket was confirmed.

Before arrest, Rayhan Kabir 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.

Different international and Bangladeshi organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have condemned the arrest and demanded Rayhan's immediate release.

Rayhan Kabir's family of four lives in Bandar upazila of Narayanganj. Locals said he used to help students with his books and money. He was very vocal against drugs in the area.


The writer is a freelance journalist.


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