PETALING JAYA(MALAYSIA): Nearly two dozen societies have called for the release of Simon Adavize Momoh, a Nigerian married to a Malaysian, who has been in the Malaysian immigration detention since March 15 after having served a day’s jail and paid a fine for a drink-driving offence.
The organisations said his continued detention was a gross violation of his rights. The authorities should release him immediately, they said, especially with Malaysia seeking a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term.
A statement initiated by the Family Frontiers group, endorsed by 23 societies and 19 people, said: “Massive uncertainty is created when a valid visa can still result in detention and possible deportation despite having a person serve a full sentence on a non-immigration matter.”
Momoh, married to a Malaysian and holding a valid long-term spouse visa, was arrested at a roadblock in Cheras on March 15 on suspicion of drink-driving. He pleaded guilty in court the same day, and was sentenced to a day’s jail and fined RM12,000.
He paid the fine and his wife, Low Kar Hui, was told that he would be released after serving the jail sentence. However, he was taken to Kajang prison and later transferred to Semenyih immigration detention centre. He has not been in contact with his family for nearly a month.
The organisation voiced their concern at the lengthy waiting period required to secure appointments with the Immigration Department, stating that many foreign spouses were worried that they would receive harsh penalties if their visas expired.
Among the civil society organisations which endorsed the statement include Amnesty International, Aliran, the Centre for Independent Journalism, the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights, Sisters in Islam, Tenaganita and the Women’s Aid Organisation.