Tamil woman identified as Malaysian after 11 months’ detention

September 11th, 2008 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 11 (IANS) A Tamil woman has been identified as a Malaysian national by the country’s human rights body after 11 months in detention, when she fell seriously ill.Rajeswary Murugiah, 22, was detained in October last year after she was found without an identity card and said she did not remember her ID number. She was lying unwell in detention till human rights watchdog Sukham took up her case and resolved it in a single day, The Star newspaper said Thursday.

It quoted Sukham chief N. Siva Subramaniam as saying: “It is baffling that a non-governmental organisation took only one day to verify that a suspected illegal immigrant was Malaysian when the arresting authority could not.

“They had her for a total of 11 months and they were unable to verify her claim that she was a Malaysian. Unlike them, Andrew Raju (of the Malaysian Indian Youth CounĀ­cil) who met her at the clinic after she fell ill was able to confirm she was Malaysian by going to the registration department.”

The Sunday Star reported that Murugiah was detained in Brickfields last October when police raided a coffee shop.

After serving two months in prison, Murugiah, who was not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, was sent to an immigration depot for illegals on suspicion of being a Sri Lankan. She gave birth to a boy while in detention.

Siva Subramaniam said the police should have gone to the National Registration Department to check her claims. He also questioned why the machine at the detention centre, which could be used to check detainees’ thumbprints against the information at the registration department, was not working.

“It is not a question of her not understanding Bahasa Malaysia. She told them she was a Malaysian but they did not believe her,” said Siva Subramaniam.

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