A 33-year-old Nigerian man who was detained at an immigration centre in Malaysia for 40 days, is finally a free man.
Sources reported that Simon Adavize Momoh, who has been married to a Malaysian auditor, Low Kar Hui, for the past eight years and has a valid visa, was arrested at a roadblock in Cheras, Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor in the early hours of March 15, 2021 on suspicion of drink-driving.
The Shah Alam High Court on Friday, April 23, ruled that the detention of the Nigerian national for 40 days to be unlawful and ordered him to be released.
High Court judge, Datuk Ab. Karim Ab. Rahman had ruled that the detention was in violation of Article 5(4) of the Federal Constitution, which requires a non-citizen to be presented before a magistrate within 14 days from the date of arrest.
He said that the Immigration Act in Section 51(5)(b) incorporates this safeguard for the proper administration of law.
Momoh was however not brought before a magistrate for detention beyond 14 days. His lawyer Vemal Arasan said that the court found the detention of Momoh to be unconstitutional and to be released as soon as practical. A habeas corpus application had been filed at the court on April 1 before the petition was heard at the court on April 15.
Confirming the latest development, Simon’s lawyer said that his client was released today from the Semenyih immigration detention centre.
“He is extremely grateful. But really exhausted. He just wants to go back,” Vemal Arasan told journalists.
A very happy Momoh was seen greeting his wife and children after his release from the immigration centre.
Momoh said that for now, he just wants to be with his wife and children after being in detention for 40 days.
He said he is thankful to everyone who supported and prayed for him.
Momoh was initially arrested on March 15 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty and paid the RM12,000 fine he was given, as well as served his one-day jail sentence.
However, Momoh who had a valid long-term spouse visa was not released but instead transferred to the Kajang Prison on March 16. He was then transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre in Semenyih on April 7 and faced the possibility of deportation to Nigeria.
His long-term spouse visa, which was valid until Oct 14 next year, was revoked on April 9 as per Section 9 of the Immigration Act, which allows the Immigration director-general to do so.
Momoh was deemed as a prohibited immigrant under the Act, with Low even told to organise flight tickets for his deportation to his country of origin.
Momoh through his lawyers had on Wednesday, April 21, also filed a lawsuit to challenge the Immigration Department’s orders to deport him, with case management for the matter on May 4.
Due to restrictions in a long-term spouse visa, Momoh was allowed to be in the country but was prohibited from employment.
He was a stay-at-home father for his two children while Low is the sole breadwinner.