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‘I just want to sleep,’ Khairuzzaman says after release

After a week of sleepless nights at the Immigration detention centre in Malaysia, all Mohamed Khairuzzaman wants when he returns home is to get some sleep as a free man again.

The former Bangladesh high commissioner, who looked frail and tired after his release, said he barely had any rest during his time at the detention centre in Putrajaya where he was held since being picked up on Feb 9, reports The Star.

“I would love to sleep. I barely had any sleep there,” the 70-year-old told The Star.

Khairuzzaman said he was treated well by Immigration authorities and was feeling happy about returning to his house in Ampang.

“Now, I have to recover physically and mentally, as well as go for a medical check-up,” he said, adding that he will go for a health screening today.

Khairuzzaman also said his family members were happy and relieved that he has now returned home.

According to Khairuzzaman’s lawyer Ngeow Chow Ying, he was released at 3.35pm yesterday.

He was met by his lawyers.

“His release is unconditional. He is a free man,” added Ngeow.

Khairuzzaman, who has been living in Malaysia for years as a refugee, was detained at his home in Ampang on Feb 9.

The following day, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said Khairuzzaman’s arrest was carried out legally and that he was awaiting deportation.

However, on Tuesday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court granted him a stay against deportation, with Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan giving a stern order that there must be no deportation against his order.

Khairuzzaman, a retired army major, had been accused of complicity in the 1975 assassination of the country’s founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

He was later acquitted and appointed High Commissioner to Malaysia in 2007.

He was also linked to the “jail killings” where Bangladeshi national leaders Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Mansur Ali and AHM Quamruzzaman were murdered in Dhaka Central Jail on Nov 3, 1975.

After the Awami League-led government, led by Mujibur Rahman’s daughter Sheikh Hasina Wazed, came to power in 2009, he was recalled to Dhaka.

Fearing arrest in Dhaka, Khairuzzaman obtained a UN Refugee card in Kuala Lumpur and continued staying here.

His wife Rieta Rahman was quoted by a news portal as saying that her husband’s arrest was politically motivated.

It also quoted Khairuzzaman as saying he wanted to go and meet his wife in the US as soon as possible.

“I spoke to her over the phone soon after my release and she is overjoyed,” he was quoted as saying.