The Prime Minister of Malayasia Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that his country has the right not to extradite radical Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik if he is not going to be accorded justice in India, The Star reported
The nonagenarian PM likened the situation to that of Australia’s refusal to deport Sirul Azhar Umar, a former bodyguard to former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who was sentenced to death in 2015 for the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Sirul was sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Shaariibuu, who was a translator for, and lover of, one of Najib’s former associates, Razak Baginda. Altantuya was shot and her body blown up using military-grade explosives. Sirul escaped to Australia when his review petition against the conviction was being heard in a Malayasian court. Australia has not returned him because he is facing the death penalty.
“We requested Australia to extradite Sirul and they are afraid we are going to send him to the gallows,” Dr. Mohamad was quoted as saying. He said Naik “in general feels that he is not going to get a fair trial [in India]”.
Dr Mohamad’s intervention comes within day of reports that Enforcement Directorate (ED) in India will be initiating a request to Interpol seeking help in arresting Zakir Naik and his extradition from Malaysia. ED is likely to secure a non-bailable warrant against him from a Mumbai special court. The court has already taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the agency against Zakir Naik and others.
The ED has alleged that his organisation, Islamic Research Foundation, received funds to the tune of ₹64.86 crore between 2003 and 2017, mostly from “dubious, suspicious or unknown sources”.
Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has welcomed Dr Mohamad’s decision not to extradite Zakir Naik to India. He accused Zakir Naik’s critics of being more loyal to India than Malaysia. He urged Muslim community to support the stand taken by Dr Mohamad, saying it showed the prime minister would not bow to the “injustice and oppression in India”.
In 2017,P Waytha Moorthy, the founder of HINDRAF or Hindu Rights Action Force and 18 others filed a suit against the then-Barisan Nasional government for allegedly harbouring Zakir Naik and granting him permanent residency.
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