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IDC urged to release man dying from severe lung condition yet detained in brutal Bangkok IDC


Shahid Asloob (27 yrs), Ulfat Rani (48 yrs), Shawn Asloob (12 yrs), Edward Asloob (14 yrs)

BPCA is launching a campaign to free a dying man  from the brutal Immigration Detention Centre of Bangkok. Asloob George (47 yrs) arrived in Bangkok with his family on 17th April 2014 after fleeing a blasphemy allegation that led to his third son being beaten by a mob of around half a dozen Muslims and two of his other brothers being attacked.

On 10th November 2015 Asloob George an asylum seeker in Bangkok was taken to a doctor due to severe pains in the thoracic region and a respiratory problem, the doctor diagnosed it as a minor infection and provided Asloob a prescription that included antibiotics and some steroids to aid better breathing.

Asloob was later arrested by Police and Immigration Department officers in Bangkok on 20th November 2015 at Talat Market, Onnut 44 whilst buying some vegetables. None of his family members were advised of his arrest and after searching local hospitals, police stations and courts his son Peter (25 yrs) informed UNHCR the next day that his father he was missing and sought their help. 'UNHCR officers informed me that they could not help as they were not the police and left me and my brothers to continue our search unassisted', alleges his son Peter (23 yrs).

The family contacted an NGO called Asylum Access who then communicated with UNHCR and local police stations to try to locate Asloob. Peter held a sit-in protest outside the gates of the UNHCR constantly asking the whereabouts of his father. On the 5th day after his father went missing Peter who had been camped outside the UNHCR office was advised by an officer that his father was imprisoned at Pathom Thani Central Prison, which has a brutal reputation and normally incarcerates murderers and rapists.

Apparently Asloob had been convicted by a local court for overstaying his tourism visa. Normally a charity or friends would come forward to pay his overstay fines to the court which would allow him to avoid jail and enable a fast-track to the less brutal but equally notorious Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), however due to no knowledge of his arrest no assistance was avaialble. With some pro bono legal help from Asylum Access and by raising finance through help from other asylum seekers the family were able to pay the fines retrospectively at Ratchada Criminal Court and were provided a certificate which they took to Pathom Thai Jail to have their father removed from jail to the IDC.

At the jail before Asloob was transported to the IDC, Peter and a friend with a live student visa was able to meet Asloob for about 3 hours. Whilst at the prison Asloob informed Peter that he was still suffering pain in his chest and had a severe shortage of breath. Peter implored officials to allow Asloob to be taken to hospital but were denied permission and Asloob was taken to Pathom Thani Provincial Police station for one night before being transferred to the IDC the next day.

During his stay at the IDC police officers were required to take Asloob to the hospital four times after Asloob began vomiting, complained of severe pain, had swelling all over his body, had difficulty breathing and was very weak. Throughout his detention in IDC family members of Asloob called for UNHCR to help free him on bail. On the third visit to the hospital in March 2017 his condition was critical and UNHCR were asked to help gain bail for Asloob, Peter alleges no help was provided. On 1st December 2017 another IDC detainee informed Peter that his father was in a very bad state and he would have to get to hospital or he would die. After being ignored by the UNHCR Peter managed to get Father Bernard from the Jesuit refugee agency to visit his father in the IDC. Father Bernard was then able to convince UNHCR to visit Asloob in prison resulting in the UNHCR taking Asloob to a hospital for emergency treatment 4 days after the report of his poor health by another concerned Christian.

Asloob remained admitted to hospital from 7th December 2017 - 23rd December and was under 24 hour surveillance for most of that period due to the severe deterioration of his health. During his time in hospital doctors suggested that he was either suffering from TB or from the pre-stage of lung cancer. Before they could determine which of these conditions Asloob was suffering from he was returned to the IDC because he 'seemed more stable', despite still being extremely weak.

The family have been advised that Asloob would be required to have several months of treatment before any expectation of his health improving. The family asked for a medical certificate from Police General Hospital where Asloob was being treated, so that they could apply for bail but were not provided the certificate by the hospital, 'as they were concerned that Asloob was a serious criminal, and did not want trouble,' said Peter.

Peter went back to UNHCR who commissioned Bangkok Refugee Centre a UNHCR funded partner to obtain the medical certificate from the Police General Hospital, which was gained. The UNHCR then took the bold step of giving Asloob Refugee Status Determination, meaning that bail could be applied for. Now the BPCA hope to raise the funds to enable Asloob to be set free on bail so he can get the necessary treatment to survive his current ordeal. We are also working with our Australian and Canadian partners to see if we can forge a way for him to escape his limbo in Thailand for a new life in the safety of the west.

For now we need to raise 50,000 baht (£1318) to pay the bail fees and we will be then starting a further appeal to hopefully get him through a sponsorship programme for asylum seekers in the west. If you can help us raise this emergency bail please (click here).

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