If an Interpol red notice is issued on preacher Dr Zakir Naik, the Malaysian police would have no choice but to arrest him, according to a lawyer who has served on the International Criminal Court.
Naik is wanted by authorities in India for alleged money laundering and hate speech. An Interpol red notice is an alert to member police forces to apprehend a wanted person.
It would then become Malaysia’s obligation as a member country of Interpol, to perform that task, said lawyer N. Sivananthan. “We will have to arrest Naik and hand him over to Interpol who will send him back to India,” he told FMT.
He said it was unfortunate that India had to seek assistance from Interpol when there is an extradition treaty with Malaysia since 2010.
Sivananthan said this in response to India which is pressing Interpol to take action on its request for red notices against certain fugitives avoiding the law, including Naik, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia.
On Friday, India’s Home Secretary, AK Bhalla, met the visiting Interpol secretary-general, Jurgen Stock, for 30 minutes and raised the matter of its request for red notices on certain fugitives including Naik,
It was also reported in May that India has filed charges of money laundering against Naik, accusing him of acquiring about Rs1.9 billion (RM114.5 million) worth of criminal assets.
Naik, who is a permanent resident in Malaysia, was charged in absentia in a court in Mumbai with acquiring about 1.9 billion rupees (RM114.6 million) in criminal assets. Naik is also accused of making “inflammatory speeches and lectures” resulting in some Muslim youths committing acts of terrorism.
Naik has strongly denied the accusations against him.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said several times that Malaysia is reluctant to deport Naik because of the risk that he would be killed and from doubts of whether he will receive a fair trial.
Recently, Naik’s comments during lectures in Kelantan led to more than 100 police reports being lodged against him. He has since apologised and Mahathir has said the government will revoke Naik’s permanent residence if his actions are detrimental to the well-being of the country.