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article imageMalaysia to deport Australian senator

By Eko Armunanto     Feb 16, 2013 in World
Kuala Lumpur detained an Australian senator Nick Xenophon at airport on Saturday morning and will be deported back to Australia. He was taken into custody on his arrival at Kuala Lumpur airport about 10:00am
Senator Xenophon, who is outspoken on human rights issues in Malaysia, is under escort and is expected to be put on a flight to Melbourne about 10.30pm (local time) tonight.
The South Australian senator had been about to join a delegation which had meetings planned with Malaysian opposition members and officials from the electoral commission ahead of this year's national election.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr confirmed that Xenophon was being held. "We are aware that the Australian senator has been detained at the airport and we are currently working with the Australian embassy to access the situation", he said.
Al Jazeera reported that Xenophon was told by airport officials to leave Malaysia on the next available flight.
"I was told I am a security risk and I can't be allowed into the country. It is bizarre and extraordinary," he said. Other members of an Australian delegation had cancelled their trip after he was refused entry.
Senator Carr said he would be seeking an explanation from the Malaysian government. "We're expressing our disappointment, we're seeking a full explanation of this. We think for a friendly country to do this is quite a sad thing", he said. Nationals Senator John Williams, Labor MP Steve Georganas, and Liberal MP Mal Washer were also part of the delegation, but have now pulled out.
"Malaysia is due to have elections here very soon. I think the Australian Government has been incredibly silent about some of the abuses that have been occurring here in terms of the way the democratic system runs or doesn't run," Senator Xenophon told ABC News 24.
BBC reported Xenophon's flight to Malaysia as part of an Australian parliamentary fact-finding mission to assess whether forthcoming elections would be free and fair. The delegation was scheduled to hold talks with several Malaysian parties, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and officials from the election commission.
A regular visitor to the country, Xenophon last year observed the trial of Mr Ibrahim, who was acquitted on sodomy charges. He was also caught up in anti-government protests and reportedly tear-gassed by riot police at a demonstration in Kuala Lumpur demanding democratic reforms in April last year.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said his government was seeking Mr Xenophon's immediate release and had raised the issue with the Malaysian government.
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