The distressing situation of undocumented migrants in Malaysia hurt me, Rayhan Kabir, a young Bangladeshi migrant, said in a quick reaction on his arrival at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport early Saturday.
He had earlier been arrested in Malaysia for appearing in a documentary by Al Jazeera on the plight of migrant workers in that country.
He was welcomed at the airport by his parents and Shariful Hasan, head of the Brac Migration Programme.
Shariful said, "The emotional reunion of Rayhan and his parents has touched everyone present there."
"The joy I feel is inexplicable. I am grateful to everyone who was by my side at home and abroad," said Rayhan.
Shariful, in a telephone conversation, shared Rayhan's statements and experiences with The Business Standard, as the returnee was not available to speak to the media.
"The Malaysian government had confirmed that any undocumented workers would not be arrested during the lockdown period. But I was saddened to see them [migrants] handcuffed. I said in the Al Jazeera interview what I saw,"said Rayhan.
On July 3, Al Jazeera released a documentary, "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown," that documented the mistreatment towards migrant workers by the Malaysian authorities under the movement control order enforced to respond to the Covid-19.
"I did not underestimate any nation. The Malaysian police asked me frequently about the issue. The authorities finally understood that I was not involved in any misdeed. That is why the police did not file any charge against me," said Rayhan who travelled by a Malaysian Airlines flight and landed at the Dhaka airport around 1am on Saturday.
Journalists from different television stations wanted to talk to Rayhan at the airport but law enforcement agencies did not allow them to do so.
On his return, Rayhan's father Shah Alam said, "We were eagerly waiting for our son. He is here now and it feels like the auspicious Eid moon is in our hands!"
Shah Alam, a resident of Narayanganj, works at a garment factory.
From the airport, Rayhan straight went to their home in Bandar area of Narayanganj around 5:30am.
Meanwhile, relatives and neighbours started to gather at Rayhan's home to meet him since morning. The family members and locals have expressed gratitude to everyone, including the government, for helping get their child back.
Rayhan's mother Rashida Begum told UNB that Rayhan went to Malaysia to fulfill his dream of pursuing higher studies. "But the dream has not come true. Even his educational certificates have been left behind in Malaysia. But we do not have any regret in this regard because we have got our son back alive."
Earlier on Wednesday, Rayhan's lawyers said he would be sent home if tickets were available after his novel coronavirus screening.
The Malaysian Immigration Department would not bring any more charges against Rayhan, they added.
The Al Jazeera documentary detailed how the Malaysian authorities, namely the Immigration Department and police, conducted raids in areas heavily occupied by migrants and refugee communities.
Following these raids, the arrestees were taken to immigration detention centres that are well known to be cramped, unhygienic and poorly maintained.
Some detention centres also saw spikes in cases of Covid-19 infections.
Rayhan was arrested in Kuala Lumpur on July 24.
Malaysia's Immigration Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud had earlier said that Rayhan will also be blacklisted so that he can never enter Malaysia again.