Lawyers’ group questions IGP’s claim Egyptians deported for Muslim Brotherhood links

IGP Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun speaks during a press conference in Bukit Aman March 6, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
IGP Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun speaks during a press conference in Bukit Aman March 6, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — The Inspector-General of Police’s (IGP) statement on the justification behind deporting several Egyptian nationals remains unproven allegations which are supported by no evidence, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said today.

In a statement, LFL executive director Latheefa Koya said that Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun’s statement that the men were members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and that they had aided foreign terrorists here, is “quite incomprehensible” from both legal and enforcement standpoints.

Latheefa added that if the men were found to have committed the offence locally, they should be tried under Malaysia laws and not deported back to their country.

“The IGP claims that they aided foreign terrorist elements in the country, and are thus suspected to have committed Offences under Part VIA of the Penal Code.

“If the Egyptians are believed to have committed such serious offences on Malaysian soil, why were they not charged formally in the Malaysian court?

“They should have been given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. Instead, the IGP has made serious allegations against them through a press statement without affording them an opportunity to answer. These remain unproven allegations supported by no evidence,” Latheefa said, adding that Malaysia has also not outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, nor branded it a terror movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt following the ouster of then President Mohamed Morsi

Latheefa said that the movement is a legitimate group merely fighting a tyrannical military regime in their home country.

The senior lawyer also lamented that the deportation of the five men, despite knowing that they would face torture and unfair trial back in Egypt, is a breach of the principle of non-refoulement, and other international obligations of Malaysia.

“Finally, throughout their arrest and detention in Malaysia, their families and lawyers were kept in the dark as to their situation. They had no opportunity to meet lawyers, give instructions or make the necessary representations to the courts here. This is a denial of due process.

“We protest in the strongest terms the deportation and treatment of these men which is a blot upon this country,” Latheefa added.

Earlier today, Mohamad Fuzi said that Malaysia had deported six Egyptians and a Tunisian, all of whom are suspects  linked to Islamist militant groups abroad, Reuters reported.

Citing a statement, Reuters reported Mohamad Fuzi saying that the suspects include five people who allegedly confessed to being part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamad Fuzi reportedly said that the Tunisian and one of the Egyptians who was deported, were members of Ansar al-Sharia al-Tunisia, which the United Nations (UN) has listed as a terrorist group.

He added that the two were previously detained for attempting to enter another country illegally in 2016, and that they had allegedly used fake passports to enter Malaysia with the intention of traveling and launching an attack in a third country.

“Members of this terror group are suspected of being involved in plans to carry out large-scale attacks in other countries,” Mohamad Fuzi was quoted saying, adding that the other five Egyptians had confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and are accused of providing shelter, transport and employment for the duo linked to Ansar al-Sharia.

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