As the world is increasingly becoming more globalized, you would think that it will blur the lines between borders and devolve harsh immigration policies. While it may be true to certain parts of the world, but it’s definitely not true for a Syrian refugee who was trapped in Malaysia airport for the past seven months!
As you may already know his story, Syrian-national Hassan al-Kontar’s entrapment in KLIA2 terminal was a story covered by many international news media and social influencers, such as World Economic Forum, The Guardian, LADbible, Nas Daily, and among others. His story had racked over millions of video views on the Internet and moved squillion hearts.
To keep you updated on his stateless conundrum, here are 7 latest things you need to know:
1. He has been arrested by Malaysian police
Yesterday (Oct 2) was a turning point for Hassan as he had left the airport for the first time in 209 days. He had been remanded by the local authorities under Section 6(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 1959/63, Malay Mail reported.
The arrest was confirmed by the Immigration Department and KLIA district police chief Assistant Commissioner Zulkifli Adamshah explained that Hassan would be investigated for not possessing a valid pass that lawfully allowed him an entry into Malaysia.
“Flight passengers with boarding passes at the boarding area are supposed to get on their flight. But this man did not do so. So he is situated in a forbidden zone, therefore the authorities had to take the necessary action,” said Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.
2. He may be jailed and whipped
If convicted, Hassan could face the sentence of a maximum RM10,000 fine, imprisonment no more than five years and liable to whipping of no more than six strokes.
3. Immigration Department will facilitate his deportation
According to The Star, Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the 36-year-old refugee would be brought to the Immigration Department once the police had finished questioning him.
“In this case, we will then communicate with the Syrian embassy to facilitate his deportation to his home country.
“The man claimed that he does not want to return to Syria because he is afraid of becoming a soldier there, or whatever his real reason is.
“But we need to have closure here,” said Mustafar.
The head of the Immigration Department vowed to resolve the issue as soon as possible as he said that the conundrum had brought humiliation to the country because of the statements made by Hassan on social media, something which Hassan had a huge following and support of.
4. Supporters fear that Hassan would be detained in hell-like condition
Al-Jazeera reported Malaysian supporters feared that the Syrian refugee would be placed in a “torture-like” condition inside the immigration detention, as contended by Malaysia’s human rights commission SUHAKAM.
His refusal to seek asylum in Malaysia was also believed to be due to that factor. “Many view this move as a protest against Malaysia’s arbitrary detention of refugees and it not being a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention,” wrote the Qatar-based media.
The detention would be held for months until the deportation order was given. When it happened, Hassan may have no choice but to return to his war-torn country which he didn’t want to because…
5. He doesn’t want to be a part of the Syrian army
Hassan refused to go back to Syria because he didn’t want to be forced into the army and fight in a war he didn’t believe in.
World Economic Forum reported that Syria underwent a civil war that took over half a million souls. Currently, there were 6.3 million Syrian refugees.
In a video, Hassan appeared restless as he vented that he wasn’t an immigrant but a refugee − one that deserved to live and uphold his “minimum human rights.”
“Since 2011, we are facing a time of rejection. Unwanted. A new type of racism.
“They are asking us to smuggle ourselves or drown in the Mediterranean (sea) or walk for months on the mountains.
“Then, if we survive all of this, then we may have an opportunity to seek asylum.
“They are treating us like immigrants when we are not, we are refugees. There’s a 1951 Refugee Convention with the United Nations. They know that because they are the ones who wrote the international law but they choose to ignore it.
“We keep paying the price of others’ war on our land,” said Hassan in one of his many videos.