The High Court in Malaysia on Tuesday granted an interim order against the immigration department from deporting former Bangladeshi High Commissioner Mohammad Khairuzzaman to Dhaka.
Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan issued the order during the hearing of Khairuzzaman's habeas corpus application filed by his wife Rieta Rahman, reports Free Malaysia Today.
Habeas corpus is a writ requiring a person to be brought before a judge or court to use as protection against illegal imprisonment, especially for the investigation of a restraint on the person's liberty.
In granting Khairuzzaman's application for a stay, Zaini said: "I don't want to hear that he has been deported against this court order that I have granted."
Earlier, Khairuzzaman's lawyer, Edmund Bon, had brought up the issue of immigration officers deporting Myanmar detainees last year, despite a court order barring the government from doing so.
"I hope the immigration (department) doesn't take matters into their own hands," he said.
Federal counsel for the immigration department Wong Siew Mun said he would get back to the Attorney-General's Chambers on the interim stay.
The court set May 20 to hear Khairuzzaman's habeas corpus bid.
In an immediate response, Khairuzzaman's wife, Rieta Rahman, said she was thankful for the court's decision, but hoped the whereabouts of her husband would be made known.
She also asked if a doctor could examine Khairuzzaman, given his medical conditions.
"I want to know where my husband is and, if possible, speak to him," she told FMT.
Earlier on 13 February, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on Malaysian authority to stop the deportation as the decision goes against international law.
UNHCR said refugees cannot be returned to their country of origin according to the principle of non-refoulment, which prevents governments from expelling refugees to a place where their life or freedom would be threatened.
"This principle is recognised as customary international law which is binding on all states, regardless of whether or not they have signed the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees," it said when asked to comment on Khairuzzaman's situation.
Khairuzzaman, 65, a UNHCR cardholder on political asylum in Malaysia since 2009, was picked up by an undisclosed enforcement agency on 9 February at his home in Kuala Lumpur's Ampang.
He was appointed as high commissioner to Malaysia in 2007. Two years later, he was recalled to Bangladesh after a change of government. He refused to return and has remained in exile in Malaysia ever since.
Following the arrest of former Bangladesh high commissioner in Kuala Lumpur M Khairuzzaman by the local authorities in Malaysia, Dhaka is now looking for options to bring him back and revive the 1975 Jail Killing Case in which he was an accused.