Tears of joy greeted Bangladesh national Md Rayhan Kabir's arrival at Dhaka International Airport early this morning after a long separation with loved ones that ended with his arrest and three-weeks in Malaysian immigration detention.
Bangladesh newspaper The Daily Star reported that Rayhan's father, Shah Alam, was at the airport to wait for his son, scheduled to arrive from Kuala Lumpur at 1am after being deported without charge over his participation in a controversial documentary about migrant workers.
"We were eagerly waiting for our son to come to us. He's here now. We have the Eid moon in our hands," Shah was quoted as saying.
The Daily Star reported an emotional embrace between father and son, shortly before they returned to the family's village in Narayanganj, Dhaka.
"I can't explain this joy. How many times have I come and gone in the last six years! This time it feels different," Rayhan was quoted as saying.
"My Bangladesh, my motherland, my mother, my parents… I can't explain this feeling to anyone. (I give my) gratitude to all of you, to all who were by my side at home and abroad," said Rayhan, who sparked an outcry from Malaysians over his remarks made in Al Jazeera's 101 East documentary "Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown".
Rayhan previously said what he had expressed in the interview was based on personal observations and this was unwavered by his own personal experiences of being locked up in Malaysia.
"I don't want to change myself. I will try my best to serve people," he was quoted as saying.
Rayhan was detained in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur on July 24 after the Immigration Department sought public assistance to track down the individual who appeared in the episode.
In the documentary, Rayhan spoke about the treatment of undocumented migrants by the Malaysian authorities during the implementation of the movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud previously announced that Rayhan would be deported to his country of origin after police investigations were completed, apart from cancelling his work permit and placing him on a permanent blacklist from entering Malaysia.