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Jakarta Post
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Indonesian rights activist banned from entering Malaysia

  • Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Thu, January 7 2016 | 06:53 pm
Carry on: Activists from the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) gather on a main road in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during a rally Sunday. Tens of thousands of Malaysians wearing yellow T-shirts and blowing horns defiantly held a major rally in the capital Saturday to demand the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. (AP/Joshua Paul)(BERSIH) gather on a main road in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during a rally Sunday. Tens of thousands of Malaysians wearing yellow T-shirts and blowing horns defiantly held a major rally in the capital Saturday to demand the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. (AP/Joshua Paul)

Carry on: Activists from the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) gather on a main road in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during a rally Sunday. Tens of thousands of Malaysians wearing yellow T-shirts and blowing horns defiantly held a major rally in the capital Saturday to demand the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. (AP/Joshua Paul)

Indonesian human rights activist Mugiyanto Sipin was detained by Malaysian immigration officials at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at noon on Thursday and was immediately deported back to Indonesia, a representative from the organization has confirmed.

Mugiyanto had arrived in Kuala Lumpur to speak at an event organized by Bersih 2.0 when he was stopped and returned to Indonesia by immigration officials, Bersih 2.0 secretariat member Mandeep Singh told thejakartapost.com.

Mugiyanto is confirmed to have arrived back in Jakarta on Thursday afternoon.

He made a statement on his Facebook account that read, '€œThree police officers who interrogated me said that they were ordered by political authorities to ban me from entering Malaysia. They said that my presence at the Yellow Mania Forum discussion was considered political interference by a foreigner.'€

Mugiyanto was due to attend the Yellow Mania Forum where he was scheduled to speak alongside Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah at an event titled '€œPeople'€™s movement can bring change'€ at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

Bersih 2.0 strongly condemned the authorities'€™ decision to prohibit Mugiyanto from entering Malaysia, according to an official statement.

Bersih, which means '€œclean'€ in Malay, refers to the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections. It is a civil society group consisting of 84 non-government organizations calling for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia.

'€œThis is yet more proof of the need for the Barisan Nasional [party] to prevent the right to protest and speak out,'€ the statement said.

Despite Mugiyanto'€™s deportation, he will still be speaking at the event, which organizers will facilitate through Skype.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Herman Prayitno confirmed Mugiyanto'€™s deportation.

'€œ[The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Malaysia] respects Malaysian authority and law,'€ said Herman when contacted today.

Mugiyanto, who held the chairman position of the Families of Missing Persons Association (IKOHI) for 12 years from 2002 - 2014, was a student leader in the anti-Suharto reform movement in 1998 and helped organize student resistance and action against Suharto'€™s '€˜Orde Baru'€™ regime. He was among pro-democracy activists who were kidnapped and later released.

Mugiyanto is currently the senior program officer for Human Rights and Democracy at the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID). (dan)(+)

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