By Raveena Nagotra | Malaysiakini

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has granted a stay of deportation to Bangladeshi opposition politician MA Quayum who has been taking refuge in Malaysia since 2015.

The stay application was meant to ensure the Immigration Department would not deport the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader.

Lawyer Kee Shu Min said judge K. Muniandy scheduled April 5 to hear Quayum’s application for habeas corpus to challenge his unlawful immigration detention.

Ahead of the hearing, the High Court today directed the government to file its supplementary affidavit by Feb 2 and Quayum (above) to file the reply by March 1.

Kee said the government was also ordered to file a confirmation on March 15 before both parties file their written submissions simultaneously on March 22.

In a statement today, SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy said that Quayum was apprehended in a joint operation conducted by the Malaysian police and the National Security Intelligence (NSI) of Bangladesh on Jan 12 at his residence in Ampang.

Quayum has since been detained at the Ampang Jaya district police headquarters and is being referred to the Immigration Department headquarters in Putrajaya, Sevan added.

‘Bangladeshi govt political crackdown’

Yesterday, Sevan alleged that Quayum’s detention request was part of a systematic crackdown by the Bangladeshi government against political opposition.

SUARAM’s Sevan Doraisamy

“Over the last year, leading up to the recent Bangladesh election, various international human rights groups reported widespread arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, and ill-treatment of opposition leaders and BNP members by the authorities.

“Many are facing fabricated charges, forcing some to go into hiding. Even opposition members and activists in exile have also become targets of persecution,” he said.

Quayum has reportedly been under the second home programme since 2015 and also as a refugee listed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).