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Malaysian activist deported from Jakarta

Message from Elizabeth Wong of Suaram - May 5, 1997

A Malaysian citizen and prominent human rights activist, Dr. Syed Husin Ali, was detained at Soekarno-Hatta airport, taken to the hotel where he was participant at a United Nations Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine in Jakarta before being deported on 4th of May, by the Indonesian immigration and military.

According to Dr. Syed Husin Ali in his press statement today, "On arrival at the Sukarno-Hatta Airport about 10:30 am, I was stopped by the Immigration there. I asked for explanation and was only told that they acted on the orders of the higher authorities from ABRI (Indonesian Armed Forces) and the Immigration. I noticed a list of names of eight other Malaysian also banned from entering Indonesia. After being detained for two hours, I was allowed to proceed to Hotel Millennium, the venue of the seminar/symposium. But my passport was kept by the Immigration."

"On 4th May 1997, about half an hour before a meeting between participants and the organisers, three officials, including one in uniform who identified himself as an immigration officer, entered my room and informed me that I had to be deported. No reason was given. After packing my wife and I were escorted out by six persons through the back door of the hotel, where we boarded flight MH722 of the Malaysian Airline System. Although we requested, we were not allowed to meet organisers of the seminar/symposium before leaving the hotel."

We are appealing to all solidarity partners to write into the UN Office and especially the conference organisers before the 7th of May, to protest the deportation of Dr. Syed Husin Ali. We hope you will urge the organisers to acknowledge what has happened; to seek redress in having Dr. Syed Husin Ali continue his participation in the ongoing conference, and issue strong public statements condemning the Indonesian regime for its harassment.