KUALA LUMPUR: A Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) investigation into the death of a Nigerian student while under the custody of the Immigration Department showed elements of negligence, it has been revealed.
Suhakam Commissioner Jerald Joseph said although there were no injuries on Thomas Orhions Ewansiha that suggested torture, the question is why was he detained when he had valid documentation.
“Is it illegal detention when someone is apprehended despite having valid documentation? We are not saying the department doesn’t have the power but if one has valid papers why do you still keep him detained?
“The process of verifying documents shouldn’t take more than a day. We have the technology so it can be done.
“We appreciate what the Immigration is doing for the country but while doing so it should follow international human rights standards, ” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Ewansiha, 34, was arrested during a raid by the department at the Desa Aman Puri Apartment in Kepong on July 4. He died in custody five days later after suffering a seizure.
Joseph said based on its checks, Ewansiha died from a heart attack and not due to any inflicted injury.
“Our conclusion is that there were no injuries that suggested torture. It is a health related issue. But we have some questions because such detention should not have happened in the first place. And in this case the Immigration Department will have to bear responsibility for his death, ” he said.
An inquest by the Kuala Lumpur Coroner’s Court into the death will begin on Jan 2.