The six Egyptians who were recently deported back home, have gone missing, and the Malaysian government should be held responsible for their disappearance, Lawyers for Liberty said today.
In a statement, its executive director Latheefa Koya added that since the men's deportation to Egypt on March 5, their families have been unable to locate them or obtain any information on their whereabouts from the Egyptian authorities.
"They were to have arrived in Cairo on an Egypt Air flight from Bangkok, in the early hours of March 6, but in response to enquiries by family members, the Egyptian authorities in Cairo claim not to know where they (the six men) are. They have effectively disappeared into thin air!
"The wives and families of the deported men are frantic with worry and desperately seeking information," Latheefa said, adding that it is out of this precise concern, the Malaysian government was urged not to deport the Egyptians.
Last Sunday, inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the government deported six Egyptians and a Tunisian suspected of being linked to Islamist militant groups abroad.
According to him, five out of the six Egyptians had allegedly confessed to being part of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Latheefa reiterated her condemnation of the deportation, saying the Egyptians are certain to be subjected to torture, abuse and possible execution for being critical of the country’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. She had first raised the concern last Sunday.
"The families strongly maintain that the men are victims of political persecution in Egypt and are innocent of allegations of terrorism.
"The IGP and the government were fully aware of the extreme danger the men faced in Egypt if deported. The right course of action would have been for Malaysia to put them on trial, if there were any real evidence of terrorism-related activities on Malaysian soil," she said.
The fact that Malaysia cooperated with a "brutal and undemocratic" regime (Egypt) is unacceptable, and contrary to Malaysia's aspirations to be a responsible and just nation, she said.
"The wives and families now rightly hold the IGP and Malaysian government responsible for the lives and safety of the deported men.
"The government must now officially enquire from the Egyptian government as to the fate of the men, and take responsibility for their wrongful actions in hastily deporting them without due process or proper enquiry or trial."