Malaysia: Take Urgent Action Now to Stop the Deportation of the Syrian Refugee

Syrian refugee Hassan al-Kontar is at imminent risk of deportation to Syria, following his arrest on 1 October at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia where he had been stranded since March. If the deportation goes ahead he will be at risk of grave human rights abuse.

Hassan al-Kontar

On 1 October, Syrian refugee Hassan al-Kontar was arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for being in a “forbidden area” of the airport. Hassan al-Kontar had been stranded in the departure terminal of KLIA since March 2018, with limited options of onward travel and unable to return to Syria after refusing to enlist in compulsory military service, which is a criminal offence in Syria. Hassan al-Kontar overstayed his Malaysian tourist visa in March and paid a penalty fee before attempting to depart. Unable to come to an agreement on his case, on 4 October, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs publicly confirmed that the Malaysian authorities were considering deporting Hassan al-Kontar back to Syria, where he would be at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention or enforced disappearance, among other things.

On 5 October, Hassan al-Kontar was transferred to the Department of Immigration. Since then, UNHCR and his lawyer have had limited access to him. He is understood to be held at the Immigration headquarters at Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur. Amnesty International has previously expressed concern at conditions of detention in Malaysia, particularly in immigration detention centres.

Hassan al Kontar is at imminent risk of deportation to Syria. Returning him to Syria would violate the international principle of non-refoulement, which states that governments should not deport persons to places where they may be at risk of serious human rights violations. Amnesty International’s research in Syria has revealed widespread and systematic human rights violations and abuses constituting crimes against humanity, including the use of torture, extrajudicial executions, and enforced disappearances of individuals perceived to oppose the Syrian government or other groups. As such, Amnesty International opposes returns to Syria in all cases except where they are voluntary.

Sign this petition now to urge Malaysian authorities to stop Hassan al-Kontar’s deportation!

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To: Home Minister of Malaysia

Subject: Urgent: Stop Hassan al-Kontar’s deportation!