Lawyer questions Malaysia’s ‘double standards’ in not deporting Zakir Naik

  • 15 May 2019
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A prominent local lawyer is questioning the government’s ‘double standards’ in deporting a Thai dissident back to her home country, while refusing to allow controversial preacher Zakir Naik to be brought back to India to face criminal charges.

N. Sivananthan, says Zakir Naik should be subjected to the same standards and principles that Malaysia applied when deciding to deport Praphan Pipithnamporn to Thailand, where she is likely be charged for her anti-monarchy views.

Sivananthan is the first Malaysian to become an International Criminal Court counsel.

“If India puts in a request we have to deport him. And if Naik wants to challenge the deportation, he can do so, but he must be held in custody pending disposal of any extradition proceedings,” he said, as reported by local website Free Malaysia Today.

What’s odd about the Praphan’s deportation is the response of Malaysia’s leaders to claims that she might not get a fair trial, due to Thailand’s harsh laws on comments related to the monarchy. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the media that the government has “no choice” but to send her back if there is a request.

India has also made a request to extradite Zakir Naik, but this has been resisted by Malaysia, with Dr Mahathir saying the preacher would be allowed to stay as long as he didn’t break the law here.

Sivananthan, however, said Malaysia has no choice but to deport Naik since Interpol has allowed India’s request for a red notice - an international equivalent to an arrest warrant - to be issued against the preacher. Ignoring an Interpol red notice would mean other countries could do the same to Malaysia in the future.

Zakir has been charged with money laundering in India, and his speeches and lectures have been said to have incited Muslim youths in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to commit terrorism.

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