Tragedy Of Untold Grief In Immigration Detention

Tragedy of untold grief, this post is about the death of an Indian-national immigration detainee who died in Immigration Detention Center. He died while immigration guards are busy going along with their SOP rather an emergency. It was the same detention center that immigration detained me for 26 days (28.2.2018 – 26.3.2018) without a Magistrate Remand Order. You can read more about how the Immigration officer detained me without a Magistrate remand order here (see photo below).

immigration detention
Remand without Magistrate order

An Indian-national immigration detainee was taken out from his cell to the staging area shed. This happened on one morning. The detainee is from a different cell and this staging area shed is directly in our line of sight. From our position we can see clearly as it is just outside after the grass patch. All the detainees witnessed this incident from our immigration detention cell.

We saw that he looks like an Indian and we then confirmed with friendly kawasans that he was indeed an Indian national.

This Indian detainee looks to be in a bad shape and seriously ill condition. He was vomiting and most likely also feeling nausea, giddy or breathing difficulty.

journal entries
Looking out and an open view of the staging area on the right of photo (hidden by lamp post)

About kawasan, detainee cum runner for immigration guards

Kawasans is a term for detainee cum runner. Their role is to run errands for the immigration officers and immigration guards. They enjoyed some privileges such as the freedom to be outside of the cell during certain times. They gets cuts from deal through acting as intermediary between officers, immigration guards and the immigration detainees for making such deals.

Someone in the cell tried to offer me a deal for a 3 minute phone call @ RM100 per call (which sounded more like a scam to me) using the officer’s mobile. They also arranged deal like buying washing powder, soap, toothpaste etc. from the officers. Instead of issuing such hygiene items to immigration detainees. They arranged to sell these items to the immigration detainees instead through these kawasans.

See the items issue forms where the signature of the same immigration guard is different. This shows that items were issued to the immigration guards but not issued to detainees as claimed by immigration department.

They are also messengers for officers as well as passing on information to the immigration detainees since they are also one of the detainees.

The junior immigration officer ordered one kawasan to take a photograph of me. So the kawasan took my photo inside the cell with the officer’s mobile phone. You can read about the rogue immigration officer here (photo below).

immigration detention
Photo ID given by his girlfriend

Immigration guards not concern with detainees’ rights

A couple of immigration guards were round about him probably to find out more from him on his sickness. They put him up lying on one of those table that are around with his back facing up. This helps provides him relief and intermittent respite while the guards observed him for quite a while.

As he was lying there, the immigration guards would occasionally check on him to sees whether he was getting better. They let him rest for a considerable time. However they observed that he was getting worse and needed medical attention.

But then the few immigration guards would not bothered with him as they were busy with their regular duties. Their regular duties is escorting immigration detainees and maintaining orderly immigration detainees movement. The immigration guards will also be busy doing changing of shifts, handing and taking over of responsibilities. And also they were be busy doing the roll call checking during the important roll call activation. You can read more about the daily routine per their SOP and what happened within the detention center here.

Faced the same experience from callous immigration guards

I had experienced this kind of long waiting period myself as I seek treatment for a urinary tract viral infection problem on the morning of 1.4.2018. There was pain in the area of my bladder with a constant urge to go to the toilet to relieve. But there is very little urine to relieve.

Because of the pain and discomfort, I wanted them to send me to the doctor as soon as possible. Around that time the immigration guards were busy with batches of detainees and doing their records. They will be busy whenever there is detainees movements in or out from the cells while I fretted away in pain. The immigration guard would ignored me and ordered me to wait.

They would not bothered about you because they are more concerned about their duties. These immigration guards were following all the procedures strictly and performing their duties per the immigration SOP. In my case, they make me wait till there is a guard available from their limited number of immigration guards to escort me to the clinic. You can read more about the cruel and inhuman Pekan Nanas Detention Center here.

Sent to the hospital of no return

We witnessed this Indian detainee was struggling and suffering while the few guards were busy with their duties. They were waiting for arrangement for an available guard to escort him.

It was after a long time, in the late afternoon, that immigration guards finally send him to the hospital. By that time, his condition has gone from bad to worse. From our cell, we watched him. We knew that he was already in bad shape on the way to the hospital.

The detainee never returned back to his cell. We enquired and heard from our friendly kawasans that he had died. The news we heard was that he had died from rat urine poisoning.

Circumstantial actions by few parties to address this rat urine cause

What confirmed this news of rat urine poisoning is the fact that a senior Indian immigration officer was inspecting all the surrounding areas accompanied by his junior immigration officer (the rogue immigration officer) the days after this incident. This junior officer is the same officer harassing me throughout my detention.

They were identifying all the places with rubbish and unwanted junks. , identifying junk and unnecessary items lying around that needs to be cleared. There were housekeeping and cleaning throughout the whole detention center.

We also watched the junior officer was very busy ordering the kawasans with the clearing of rubbish, cleaning and washing up the surrounding areas. Following after for the next few days we saw groups of visitors coming around to inspect the places to check here, there and the whole surrounding areas.

These are all the circumstantial actions performed by few parties and because the detainee was never returned back to his cell, we knew for sure that he had died after being sent to the hospital.

Collated information on this tragedy of untold grief

Being a witness of this tragedy, I can only do for this immigration detainee and his family is to report on what we, the detainees of our block had witnessed openly. This is hoping that somehow this information would helps his family finds closure and seeks accountability. We can only hope that this information can finds its way to the family in India someday.

I had written to the Indian High Commissioner in KL to raise this to their attention and have received information accordingly. There is nothing more that can be done by them at this point. They could only provide me the information that I had requested. As I am resource-constraint apart from bringing attention to this case, nothing more could be done on behalf of this detainee.

Tragedy of untold grief
Email to Indian High Com

Other witnesses to this tragedy of untold grief are three other Indian immigration detainees. They were detained together with me and are contactable. One of them had concurred with me via our whatapps messages. Though he would like to help and provides an affidavit as a witness. However he feared that bad things would be done to him if he will to get involved.

tragedy of untold grief
Ex-detainee (middle) with his family. Another witness to this death in custody.

Like many other detainees, these Indian immigration detainees comes from very poor villages in India and were tricked by unscrupulous agents. They borrowed thousands of ringgits to pay these agents. These agent failed to honor their promise of securing proper work permit for them. They then disappeared and left these poor migrant workers in the lurch. So like the many others, they ended up languishing in the detention center. After that they returned home and ended up struggling with a debt burden.

Researched into other tragedy of untold grief for discrepancies

In conjunction with this post, I have posted a post related to unnatural deaths in custody. In this post, I did an analysis of two previous reported deaths for discrepancies. Hopefully such analysis could shed light on why such deaths do not get public attention and family’s closure. It provides more information on how immigration handled deaths in custody. It also shows that immigration hides the truth behind each death from the deceased family.

This kind of incident should be of serious concern to everyone also as it can happened to any foreigner in Malaysia. It almost happened to me just as it had happened to the Indian-national immigration detainee.

In my case, about four months time after released from immigration detention, I suffered a heart attack. I was then back in Singapore with the high standard of medical care. The Singapore hospital immediately and urgently provides medical attention unlike here in Pekan Nanas and I survived.

If I am still in the custody of immigration detention, I will face the likelihood of having the same tragedy of untold grief as the Indian-national detainee. Then Immigration just repatriated my corpse in a body bag instead of releasing me alive to my family.

Tragedy of untold grief is a serious concern to all foreigners in Malaysia

Hence, to conclude, I reiterated these two points,

1. This unfortunate tragedy that happened to the deceased Indian-national immigration detainee had caused untold grief and sufferings to his family and leaving the family with no closure. There is another similar case of death in immigration detention involving a Nigerian student. Similarly, there was no closure for the wife and children of this Nigerian. Has any of the immigration guards called to account on what happened based on their first hand information? It never happened as like in many other cases, a violation of human rights.

2. The example of my actual heart attack about four months after my release (they were trying to make sure I get long jail sentence) could have happened and similarly can caused much grief just like the above. We should not be keeping quiet about such atrocious behavior and treatment from these uncivilized people.

This post here is also the voice on behalf of the deceased Indian-national immigration detainee. It is also a call to the international community to be concerned about the human rights situation in all the sordid Immigration detention centers in Malaysia.

How foreigners are treated in Malaysia and in Singapore

Read here on additional related post – Death of a Nigerian PhD students in immigration detention.

Read here for additional related news – Righteous High Court judge in Singapore overturned verdict of a foreigner domestic worker from Indonesia.

It is indeed refreshing to read of such news of Judge who swore an oath to uphold justice and demonstrates that uprightness even for foreigners. This Singaporean Judge is truly a role model.

A highly respectable upright and honorable Singapore Supreme Court Justice Chan

Sharing is caring – Be a voice for the voiceless.

Please shares this to the international community to stop more deaths of foreigners in custody.

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Psalms 82:3 (KJV)

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