Ensure migrants’ dignity, Bangladeshi man says ahead of arrest for Al Jazeera documentary appearance

In the video produced by Al Jazeera’s 101 East team, the authorities were accused of racism against undocumented migrants. ― Reuters pic
In the video produced by Al Jazeera’s 101 East team, the authorities were accused of racism against undocumented migrants. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Bangladeshi national Mohammad Rayhan Kabir, who had openly criticised the government’s treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the movement control order (MCO) has maintained his innocence prior to him being detained by Immigration officials yesterday.

In an article by Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star, it was reported that Rayhan had managed to send a WhatsApp message to one of their reporters hinting that he knew the authorities were going to nab him.

“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,” he reportedly said.

Rayhan’s father Shah Alam, also told the Bangladeshi newspaper that he was informed of his son’s arrest through another countryman who is also in Malaysia.

Similar to Rayhan, the garment factory worker also believed that his son has not committed any crime but had only protested against alleged discrimination exploitation.

“I just got the news from Malaysia by a Bangladeshi. My son has been protesting against all odds since childhood. But he never did any wrong,” he was quoted saying.

Shah Alam said Rayhan had left for Malaysia and received his degree after passing his High School Certificate in 2014.

“Rayhan’s mother has been sick for the last one month. My son has been arrested for protesting against discrimination and exploitation.

“I believe my son did not do anything wrong. I want Bangladesh to stand with him,” Shah Alam reportedly said in a “choked voice”.

Rayhan had been the target of the government’s manhunt after his harsh criticisms against Putrajaya’s detention of undocumented migrant workers in an Al Jazeera documentary titled Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown which was aired on July 3.

In the 25 minute and 50 second video produced by Al Jazeera’s 101 East team, he had accused the authorities of racism against undocumented migrants, claiming that being an illegal immigrant in Malaysia is not a crime.

This led to the Home Ministry revoking Rayhan’s work permit in the country, while many Malaysians took to social media to express their anger against Rayhan.

At the same time, Bukit Aman had also called in the 101 East news crew for questioning.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had said that the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) have found that the documentary contain seditious elements.

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