KUALA LUMPUR: Bangladeshi human rights activist Adilur Rahman Khan has been detained by Immigration officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Thursday.
The secretary of the human rights group Odhikar was detained at about 4am this morning, said Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) in a press statement.
"As of 3pm, lawyers have not been able to meet with Adilur, who is supposed to be in detention at KLIA. Immigration provided information that his detention was a result of a notice put forward by the Federal police headquarters," said Suaram.
Similar views were shared by the Bersih 2.0 steering committee, which called for an explanation from the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry on the reason Adilur was detained as well as demanding for his release.
"This treatment of Adilur is an embarrassment to Malaysia on the world stage," the committee said in statement on Thursday.
"Given his recognised dedication to the promotion of human rights and democracy, such an individual should be welcomed to share his experiences and knowledge, instead of being treated as a threat to national security," it added.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) executive director Shanimi Darshni Kaliemuthu said Adilur was the latest target of a "growing trend to impose travel bans on rights activists entering Malaysia."
In a statement on Thursday, she listed other activists who were barred from visiting the country, including Hong Kong political activist Joshua Wong, Indonesian human rights activist Mugiyanto Sipin and Singaporean political activist Han Hui Hui.
"We call for the immediate release of Adilur, and an end to the use of travel bans against human rights defenders which further stigmatises their work, and limits their ties with the global human rights movement," said Shamini.
Adilur was scheduled to attend the National Conference on the Death Penalty organised by the Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) which is taking place at the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall (KLCAH) today and Saturday.
Odhikar was particularly vocal against the Bangladeshi security forces over allegations of human rights abuses, which includes torture, extra judicial killings and enforced disappearance.