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Responding to the arrest of Hassan al-Kontar by Malaysian police, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

“Hassan al-Kontar’s arrest is the latest misstep in a series of mishandlings of his case. It would be abhorrent to see him deported to Syria, given the critical situation there and the clear risks to his own safety. Malaysian authorities should respect the international principle of non-refoulement and find a humane solution to his ordeal.

“The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Malaysia should have access to him, which they have requested. They have recognized him as a ‘person of interest’ and he is entitled to international protection.”

Background

Hassan al-Kontar is a 37 year old Syrian national who was arrested and placed on remand by Malaysian police on October 2, 2018. With no option for onward travel, he has been in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) since March 2018. He does not wish to return to Syria, where he has refused to enlist in compulsory military service.

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.