Syrian faces ‘extreme danger’ if deported, there’s still time to protect him, govt told – Nation

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Syrian faces 'extreme danger' if deported, there's still time to protect him, govt told - Nation

PETALING JAYA: The Syrian asylum seeker who had been staying at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) will be in “extreme danger” if he is deported to his home country, says Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM).  

The human rights organisation said that if Hassan al-Kontar (pic) was deported, the government would violate the international principle of non-refoulement.   

“Malaysian authorities have a poor track record of deporting persons at risk. We call on the new government to reverse this trend and show that times have changed. There is still time to protect Mr al-Kontar’s life and safety,” AIM researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said in a statement. 

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman was reported as saying that Hassan had insisted that he only wanted asylum from Canada but his application would take as long as two years to be approved.

Hassan is currently in police custody after he was detained on Monday (Oct 1) for being in a forbidden zone and remanded for 14 days.  

The Immigration Department had said that Hassan would probably be deported to Syria after police had finished their investigation.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Latheefa Koya said the Home Ministry has the full power to authorise the Immigration to grant temporary shelter and asylum to Hassan pending a successful application to Canada.  

“Why detain and investigate him like a common criminal?” she said in a statement.  

She said there is vast difference between an asylum seeker and a migrant who wilfully entered the country illegally.  

She said the suggestion that Hassan is “choosy” or “picky” about his country for resettlement is uncalled for and not a reason to detain him further.  

Hassan had refused to return to his home country claiming that he feared he would have to enlist in compulsory military service.  

The 36-year-old had been stuck in transit at the KLIA2 since March.  

He gained online fame when he posted videos of his life at the airport terminal on social media, which subsequently attracted the attention of human rights groups and the media.  

Hassan’s plight also drew comparison with Tom Hank’s character in the 2004 film The Terminal, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

Related stories:

Police nab Syrian stranded at KLIA2

Syrian ‘Tom Hanks’ refused refuge offers in M’sia, says Azis

https://www.malayjournal.com
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