Bangladeshi in Al Jazeera documentary fails to get 13-day remand reduced

The High Court says the remand period is appropriate as it concerns national integrity.
Bangladeshi Md Rayhan Kabir (centre) being escorted out of the courtroom after the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld his 13-day remand order. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Bangladeshi national being held by authorities over his involvement in a documentary on the purported mistreatment of migrants during the Covid-19 lockdown failed to get his 13-day remand shortened today. Md Rayhan Kabir’s lawyer, Sumitha Shaanthini Kishna, told FMT the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld the remand based on the grounds of national integrity, as stated in the Immigration Department’s application.

Sumitha and her colleague Selvaraja Chinniah said the Immigration Department had on Aug 6 obtained a remand of 13 days to hold their client until Aug 19. “We applied for revision of that order based on the argument that his (original) 14-day remand upon his arrest (on July 24) is sufficient to conduct the necessary investigation,” Sumitha said.

Bernama earlier today reported that High Court judge Ab Karim Ab Rahman said the 13-day remand was “appropriate”. “The investigating officer in their report mentioned that he (Md Rayhan) was remanded for investigation and his arrest was linked to the integrity of the nation,” the national news agency quoted Ab Karim as saying.

Selvaraja appeared for Rayhan at the revision hearing today. Sumitha said they will wait until Aug 19 to see the outcome. “We are still yet to be informed if our client will be charged with any offence,” she said. Rayhan was among those featured in the Al Jazeera report titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”, aired on July 3.

The documentary claimed that authorities had treated migrants poorly during the movement control order (MCO) period to contain the spread of Covid-19. Rayhan was nabbed on July 24 in relation to an investigation under the Immigration Act 1959/63. His work permit was also revoked by the department on July 8. Al Jazeera, meanwhile, is being investigated for various offences, including sedition, defamation and improper use of network facilities.