Nigerian student who died in custody was given unknown medicine, inquest told

An inquest into the death of a Nigerian PhD student has started, with the family of Orhions Ewansiha Thomas seeking answers into their relative’s passing while in police custody in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysians were left shocked, and Nigerian citizens living in KL incensed, at the seemingly unexplained nature of the young man dying whilst in police custody last year.

A courtroom heard that a police photographer was made aware that Thomas was given unknown medicine by an unknown police individual.

“I cannot recall who was the immigration personnel’s name who told me about this. But the person was a medical officer,” said photographer Kamarulzaman Jamuie.

According to Free Malaysia Today, a legal representative for Thomas’s family then asked Kamarulzaman if there was any photographic evidence of what he had been given. Instead, he was only asked to take a photo of where the medicines were kept.

A police officer also testified that he was told that Thomas had passed away, and that he received a report in the early hours of July 9, 2019. He was informed by another official that the 34-year-old man was found unresponsive at the Bukit Jalil immigration detention center. No cause of death was given.

A third witness called weighed in on a series of photos taken during the victim’s postmortem, with a lawyer pointing out that four pictures were missing and that the quality of the images was not very good.

Thomas’s family had called for an inquiry into his unexplained death, as they believed that he may have been the victim of an assault while in custody and denied access to medication that he needed.

His mysterious death in custody made headlines in July, after the 34-year-old reportedly had a seizure while into the second week of a 14-day remand imposed by Immigration authorities, despite the fact that he was a student with valid papers.

At the time, cellmates reported that he was experiencing a seizure in his sleep, though no official conclusions on his cause of death have been made.

The inquest will resume January 7.


This article, Nigerian student who died in custody was given unknown medicine, inquest told, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!