24 January 2019

Malaysia denies visas to Israeli paralympians

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Israeli paralympic athletes' hopes to attain Malaysian visas were squashed this week after authorities reiterated that they would not be allowed entry to compete in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in Kuching, Borneo. reports citing Sputnik.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad spoke with reporters Thursday, saying, "We will not allow them to enter. If they come, then it is an offense." The official continued, explaining that it would be against the law to issue the team visas since Malaysia, a supporter of Palestine, has no diplomatic ties with Israel and does not recognize it as a state.

Despite two months of pressure from the International Paralympic Committee and the Israeli Olympic Committee, Mohamad went on to stress that he would not be changing his mind on the matter. "If they want to withdraw the championship hosting rights from Malaysia, then they can try to do so," he said.

Recently, a coalition of 29 non-governmental organizations, including the likes of the Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia, Viva Palestina Malaysia and Al-Quds Foundation Malaysia, voiced their support for the government's decision to bar the Israeli athletes, Malay Mail reported.

2019.01.12 / 16:17
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