Nigerian Widow Demands Inquest Into Custodial Death

Thomas Orhions Ewansiha’s widow alleges that her husband was beaten and denied medical care.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 15 — The widow of PhD student Thomas Orhions Ewansiha has called for an inquest into the Nigerian man’s death in custody here.

The Star reported that the widow’s attorneys have sent a letter to the coroner’s court to examine the events leading to the death of Ewansiha last July 9, alleging that the 34-year-old was beaten in immigration custody and denied medical care for his wounds.

“The full autopsy report is not out yet but based on our conversations with the pathologist and witnesses, who were in custody with Ewansiha, we believe there is a need for an inquest to be carried out,” the widow’s lawyer, Sachpreetraj Singh Sohanpal, was quoted saying in a news report by The Star on Thursday.

Sachpreetraj also said Ewansiha, who was studying a PhD in management at Limkokwing University, had been held without adequate cause because the father of two had a valid visa during his custody.

On July 12, the Immigration Department said Ewansiha was arrested after trying to escape from a raid, adding that he had been arrested for further checks for 14 days.

Even though Ewansiha’s documents indicated he had a valid student pass, his fleeing raised doubts about the authenticity of his student pass.

The Immigration Department claimed that Ewansiha had not declared any diseases at the beginning of his detention and was well treated during his detention at the Bukit Jalil immigration depot on June 5.

The authority said other prisoners notified the police officer on duty that Ewansiha had seizures around midnight on July 9.

“An ambulance from HUKM (Universiti Kebangsaan Hospital) as well as an assistant medical officer arrived at 12.30am and they had attempted to help the subject.

“However, he was then pronounced dead,” the statement from the Immigration Department said, adding that a police report was made on the matter.

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