By Hafiz Yatim | The Edge Markets

The High Court has granted an interim stay order against the Immigration Department and the Malaysian government to stop the deportation of former Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia M. Khairuzzaman back to his country.

The interim stay order was granted on Tuesday (Feb 15) by Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan following an application from Khairuzzaman’s counsel Edmund Bon, whose firm Messrs AmerBON had also filed a habeas corpus application to free the former diplomat from detention.

Bon told the court he does not know the whereabouts of Khairuzzaman as the lawyer thinks he is being held by the Immigration Department at Putrajaya.

“We do not have access to him and his family, who are in the United States, are concerned over his safety. He has a United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) card and had been abducted with his present whereabouts unknown.

“Hence, we are seeking a court order to provide an interim stay to prevent him from being sent back,” Bon said, adding he is making the application for interim stay and habeas corpus on an urgent basis.

A habeas corpus is a court application to grant freedom to a person held under detention.

Justice Zaini asked federal counsel Wong Siew Mun from the Immigration Department for her response, and she replied that the department had obtained the application only on Monday.

“Hence we have to seek instructions from the Attorney General’s Chambers. Furthermore, I may have to seek further instructions from my superior,” she added.

Bon explained that the interim stay is to prevent his client from being deported, which would render the habeas corpus hearing academic.

With this, Justice Zaini granted the interim stay on Khairuzzaman’s deportation until the hearing of the habeas corpus application, which is fixed on May 20.

Khairuzzaman, a retired army major, was accused in the 1975 assassination of the country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman but was later acquitted.

He was also reported by the Bangladeshi media to be linked to “jail killings” there, but he was later acquitted and appointed High Commissioner to Malaysia in 2007.

He was reportedly also linked to “jail killings” where Bangladeshi national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Mansur Ali, and AHM Quamruzzaman were murdered in Dhaka Central Jail on Nov 3, 1975.

After the Awani League-led government came to power in 2009, Khairuzzaman was recalled to Dhaka, but refused and obtained the UNHCR card and remained in the country.

Commenting on Khairuzzaman’s arrest, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said it was done according to the law after the authorities received a request and found it was valid.