After 40 days in detention, Momoh a free man again

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Gambar Hiasan***

SEMENYIH: Nigerian Simon Adavize Momoh, who was detained at the Semenyih immigration depot for more than a month after being arrested for drink-driving in March, is finally a free man.

A very happy Momoh, who is married to Malaysian Low Kar Hui, has been released sooner than expected and was seen greeting his wife and children after his release from the immigration depot here.

Momoh said that for now, he just wants to be with his children and wife after being in detention for 40 days.

He said he was thankful to everyone who supported and prayed for him.

“He will speak in a few days’ time. The family is completely exhausted,” lawyer V Vemal Arasan said on behalf of his client.

During a habeas corpus hearing today, Judge Ab Karim Ab Rahman ruled that Momoh’s detention was unconstitutional and had breached procedure. Therefore, he ordered Momoh’s release from immigration’s custody as soon as possible.

With today being a Friday with the weekend ahead, it had been widely expected that he would only be released on Monday.

Simon Adavize Momoh standing beside his wife, Low Kar Hui (centre) and his lawyer (right) in front of the Semenyih immigration depot.

The judge had said the magistrate did not receive any remand application for Momoh’s detention, making it a contravention of Article 5(4) of the Federal Constitution.

Momoh was arrested at a roadblock in Cheras in the early hours of March 15 on suspicion of drink-driving.

He pleaded guilty in court the same day and paid the RM12,000 fine. Low was told he would be released at 5pm. However, he was detained at the Semenyih detention centre for a total of 40 days and his one-day imprisonment was used as grounds for his visa to be cancelled.

The deputy public prosecutor said during the hearing today that the immigration director-general had ordered the cancellation of Momoh’s valid long-term spouse visa during his detention, to enable him to be deported.

Momoh’s deportation order was emailed to his wife on April 14. The Immigration Department had asked Low to make arrangements for his flight back to Nigeria. According to the order, Momoh is deemed a prohibited immigrant.

Vemal has filed a judicial review against the decision to cancel his pass and his deportation order, to be heard on May 4.

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