Nick Xenophon, Australian senator, detained and deported from Malaysia


Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim waves to his supporters as he arrives to address a corner meeting in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on February 16, 2013. Anwar condemned the detention of Australian senator Nick Xenophon 'in the strongest terms', saying allegations that he was a security threat were 'completely without foundation'. Xenophon and the other politicians were to meet members of electoral reform group Bersih, which has organised last year's rally, and others including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Election Commission officials.


Saeed Khan

Nick Xenophon, an Australian senator, has been detained and is awaiting deportation from Malaysia after being deemed a "security risk." 

Xenophon was held by officials upon his arrival to Kuala Lumpur airport. He was in Malaysia as part of an elections review delegation and was scheduled to meet with officials about the country's upcoming elections in June, BBC News reported, including Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a Cabinet minister and electoral activists. 

Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr has expressed his disappointment in the detention. 

“Australia's concerns have been raised with Malaysia's foreign minister and the minister for home affairs and the Malaysian high commissioner to Australia...[to secure] Senator Xenophon's swift release from custody," he said, according to the Australian

“Senator Xenophon's detention is a surprising and disappointing act from a country with which Australia routinely maintains strong diplomatic relations," Carr added. 

Malaysia's Immigration Director Gen. Alias Ahmad said that the senator was banned because of his participation in a demonstration in Kuala Lumpur last year, the Associated Press reported.

“Malaysia is a free and democratic country, but no one is above the law,” Gen. Ahmad said in a statement. “Authorities will take the appropriate action against any individual deemed to have violated national laws.”

Opposition activist Anwar Ibrahim called the deportation “a gross abuse of power, the AP reported. 

Xenophon – whose name, ironically, is Greek for "stranger's voice — will be sent back to Melbourne on Saturday night. 

More from GlobalPost: Malaysia’s Arab Spring?