DAP MP moots independent inquiry into Nigerian student’s custodial death

The in memoriam message tweeted by Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. — Picture via Twitter/LimKokWing_MY
The in memoriam message tweeted by Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. — Picture via Twitter/LimKokWing_MY

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Kasthuri Patto today called for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the events leading to the death of Nigerian Thomas Orhions Ewansiha at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre earlier this month.

The Batu Kawan MP said she filed a report at the Travers police station at 7.08pm yesterday to compel the authorities to look into the Immigration’s standard operating procedure (SOP), which she criticised as outdated and a blemish on the government’s human rights record.

“The Immigration Department must redevelop a new SOP on how foreigners are managed in our detention centres, which are notorious for being dirty, unhygienic. Treatment of them, whether male or female, is sometimes beyond imagination,” Kasthuri told reporters at Parliament today.

The DAP lawmaker pointed out that it’s been over a week since Thomas died but no one has been called in to account for his alleged maltreatment under detention.

She claimed the Immigration Department has also not disclosed publicly if it was conducting an internal investigation on the depot that led to the Nigerian’s death on July 9.

She noted that the 33-year-old was a PhD student at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Cyberjaya, Selangor and had his student card on him when he was arrested on July 4.

She said it would have taken a few short hours for Immigration officers to verify if he was in the country legally or illegally by keying in the numbers on his student pass.

However, she noted that Thomas was not even taken to court during his week-long detention.

“This sort of overzealous enforcement which has already put a black mark on our Immigration Department must be looked into seriously as it affects Malaysia's reputation,” she said.

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