SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has postponed the hearing on the detention of Nigerian national Simon Adavize Momoh, who remains jailed despite having paid his fine for a drink-driving offence, to next week.
Judge Ab Karim Ab Rahman set the hearing for next Thursday after the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) requested for more time to respond to the detainee’s affidavit.
Karim also questioned the deputy public prosecutor on Momoh’s detention, as his previous one-day jail sentence by the Kuala Lumpur High Court was only meant to be “symbolic”.
Momoh’s lawyer, V Vemal Arasan, filed a habeas corpus application on April 1, naming the Immigration Department, Prisons Department and home ministry as respondents.
Following the postponement of the hearing, Vemal said they would wait for the AGC’s reply on Thursday and “take it from there”.
“The High Court judge himself has said (Momoh’s sentence) of one day was a ‘symbolic imprisonment’, not to keep him detained. It has already been 26 days, so this is clearly a breach of his fundamental liberties.
“We will continue to pursue this matter,” the lawyer said.
Momoh, who has been married to a Malaysian for the past eight years and has a valid visa, 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, paid the RM12,000 fine, and his wife, Low Kar Hui, was told he would be released at 5pm.
However, nearly a month later, he is still detained at the Semenyih immigration detention centre.
Authorities have also denied access for Vemal and Low to meet Momoh, citing Covid-19 restrictions. Momoh is expected to remain detained at least until the next hearing.
Momoh was previously behind bars at the Kajang prison to supposedly take a Covid-19 swab test. He suffers from hypertension and does not have access to his medicine.
Low, who was present at the High Court today, told reporters that Momoh’s detention had badly affected her work, family and their two daughters’ mental well-being.
“It has also been financially exhausting. I hope he will be released soon and that we can resume our normal lives again,” she said.
She was accompanied by a representative from the Nigerian High Commission, Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) co-founder Bina Ramanand and Family Frontiers programme manager Melinda Anne Sharlini.