French lawyer William Bourdon will be deported at 11.30pm.
Bourdon’s statement to the authorities at KLIA:
At KLIA, flying into KL from Penang, Bourdon was asked to sign deportation papers in Malay. He flatly refused. Instead, he wrote a statement, asserting he had not violated any law in Malaysia and protesting strongly against his detention.
He had no access to lawyers for five hours.
Bourdon, 55, told the authorities he is a lawyer for human rights group Suaram for the Scorpene submarine case, and deportation would be a breach of his right to perform his professional duty as a lawyer. He said he did not understand the rationale for his detention as he had come to brief those interested about the progress of the Scorpene investigation and lawsuit.
“They (the authorities) wanted to detain him for three days because his (return) ticket is on Sunday,” according to lawyer Fadiah Nadwa at KLIA.
Bourdon protested and made arrangements to return to Paris later tonight, together with his fiancee Lea Forestier. The lawyer, who is working pro-bono for human rights group Suaram, had been scheduled to speak tonight in Petaling Jaya and in Ipoh on Saturday. One of the speakers at the Penang dinner last night mentioned that more information on the Pakistan angle of the Scorpene investigation had been planned for the PJ event.
Organisers of the PJ dinner said the fund-raising event tonight to raise money for legal costs in France had already recorded a net surplus of RM150000. It will proceed as scheduled at Dewan Sivik. Last night’s dinner in Penang raised another RM100000.
Bourdon, speaking softly with a slight accent last night, revealed the investigation into the Scorpene submarines deal in France was on the verge of unravelling unusual cashflows and the revealing the identities of the parties involved in the deal. “We are determined to ensure this investigation will go as far as possible (in the courts),” he told some 600 diners. “There is no democracy if there is no complete eradication of corruption.”
Despite the complexity of the case, Bourdon, whose scruffy hair makes him look like an artist more adept at using a paintbrush on canvas, was optimistic that the truth would one day be revealed. “This requires determination and solidarity.”
That resolve would no doubt be strengthened after his hasty – and ill-conceived – deportation.
Bourdon’s offered words of encouragement to local activists: “Thanks for your warm hospitality. The truth will prevail. You can count on me to fight on in this case. Good luck to the Malaysian people.”
He also thanked the public for their support for Ops Scorpene. “I offer you hope and courage and keep fighting for truth and justice!”
The deportation reinforces the widespread perception of an administration fighting a rearguard battle to safeguard its image on multiple fronts. Rightly or wrongly, many have linked Najib’s abrupt return from Europe with Bourdon’s sudden deportation.
Like the impact of the Bersih crackdown and the detention of the PSM 6, the public relations fallout from the deportation is likely to provide the Ops Scorpene legal campaign undreamed of publicity – not only in Malaysia but around the world.
For the administration, it is a case of shooting itself in the foot – repeatedly.