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Friday, April 9, 2021

Judge asks why man still being detained after serving one-day jail sentence


Shah Alam High Court judge Ab Karim Ab Rahman who was presiding today over the case of a Nigerian man still being detained after serving a one-day jail sentence since March 15 appeared perplexed with the situation.

The court was informed by the deputy public prosecutor that Simon Adavize Momoh was still in detention, having been moved from the Kajang prison to an immigration detention centre.

"He was detained for a day... and he is still being held? How come he was not released after a day?

"That one-day sentence is supposed to be symbolic," said Ab Karim.

The court was hearing the habeas corpus application filed by Momoh's wife Low Kar Hui (above, left) via lawyer Vemal Arasan on April 1.

The respondents named in the application were the Prisons Department, Immigration Department, and the Home Ministry.

However, the hearing was postponed to April 15 as the court was told that the Attorney-General's Office did not have enough time to reply to the affidavit.

When met outside the court, Vemal said he was not allowed to meet his client and had no knowledge under which section Momoh was detained.

"As far as we are concerned, we have no idea under what section he is being detained, so the burden is on them (respondents) to prove that the detention is according to law.

"The judge was also not happy because the one-day (sentence) is symbolic; clearly it's a breach of the law," he added.

Vemal lamented that his client has been without access to justice for 26 days.

"We tried contacting Momoh but the prison refused to let us meet him because of the Covid-19 situation.

"They should allow him access to justice because that's important," he said.

Last month, Momoh was charged under Section 45A(1) of the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020 for drink-driving. He was arrested at a roadblock at Jalan Cheras and taken to the Jalan Tun HS Lee traffic police station.

Low paid the fine and was told that Momoh would be released after serving a one-day jail sentence.

However, he was instead taken to the Kajang prison and later to an immigration detention centre. Low claimed that Momoh has valid documents and is on a long-term spouse visa.

Low, who appeared tired and worried, hoped that her husband would be released soon.

"The situation affects my children as they are very close to him. It affects my work too... I hope he will be released soon and we can live like normal again," she said. - Mkini

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