A LITTLE ABOUT BPCA?

Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.

CONTACT INFO

A beleaguered Christian family fleeing persecution are calling for release of their father on promised bail after devious Thai officials renege on initial agreement

img

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. 

The family of Asloob have been pursuing bail for him since his arrest in consideration of his rapidly declining health that has already resulted in Asloob being taken to hospital 3 times under supervised detention over the last two years. This amounts to over 40 days admission at the Police General Hospital under an assessment of critical condition, and the unspecialized hospital have yet to diagnose his condition properly, but believe it to be either TB or Cancer.  Today (25th January 2018, Asloob has again been taken to hospital and is fighting for his frail life having only been given access to see his family once during December when it was believed he would not survive.  The visit of his family however and their fervent prayers gave him some stimulus and he showed signs of recovery and was returned to the IDC.

Whilst in Bangkok during January our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry visited the family after calls for assistance who had been given the go ahead for bail should they be able to pay the bail fee of 50,000 baht (£1318).  We put out an appeal for the necessary bail fee but are yet to raise the funds.  However in light of the worsening condition we offered to pay the fine from our unrestricted reserve.  To the gall an chagrin of the family, the BPCA and other agencies involved in trying to help Asloob, Thai Authorities have reneged on a promise to permit the release of Asloob.

What is particularly painful about the Thai Authorities decision is the fact that it contradicts the deeper commitment they made to the UN when they assured them during the Universal Periodic Review of Thailand, that they would allow bail to detainees with serious medical conditions. The review forms part of Thailands commitment under the 'International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights' and was held on the 119th Session of the 'Human Rights Council' in March 2017. Under article 40 of the covenant the Royal Thai Government was required to provide a written report and paragraph 130 of their response states:

130. Thailand allows NGOs to seek bail for those believed to have fled home for fear of persecution, especially women, children, and persons with serious medical conditions, to live outside Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs). Today, the majority have been granted bail with the remaining few being expedited for consideration. 

This was among many other assurances given to the UN which can be read under question 23, paragraphs 128 - 132 (click here)


Moreover, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha pledged at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, in New York 20th September 2016 that Thailand is committed to developing a screening mechanism to distinguish those who truly need protection from those migrating to Thailand for other reasons, so protection can be accorded, and minimise immigration detention. No progress has been made regarding this pledge, or his pledge at the same meeting that Child detention would be terminated considering the dozens of children arrested on Tuesday (click here). 


9 Pakistani Christians have already died in the brutal IDC where usually detainees are prevented access to medical treatment. Only the persistence of the family of Asloob that has triggered a UN response has helped Asloob survive this long.  However. unless he is set free he will not get the long term health care required to save his life. Below we list three previous accounts of negligence by Thai officials that led to the deaths of innocent asylum detainees:

36 year old father of two dies in IDC (click here)
Woman dies in IDC (click here)
Elderly man dies in IDC (click here)

BPCA have created a petition calling for bail for Asloob which we will be submitting to the Royal Thai Government's Interior Ministry and to the UNHCR in Bangkok calling for the immediate bail permission for Asloob as agreed previously.  You can sign our electronic petition by clicking (here).

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

"The failure by Thailand to sustain the commitments they make in the international arena are globally deplorable.

"Their treatment of asylum seekers has been exposed by the BBC in a documentary that I assisted Chris Rogers with, yet they continue to deny the maltreatment that has resulted in 11 Pakistani Christians having lost their lives in the brutal Bangkok Immigration Centre. [Watch the documentray (here)]

"Now despite all this evidence the UN and western nations allow Thailand to contravene the international laws and conventions they have ratified allowing good people suffer the evil hatred of a nation that maintains an insular view that undermines the process of global harmony.

"Asloob George deserves to spend some time with his already beleaguered and frustrated family who have suffered enough.

"Asloob's time on this earth is limited but it would be a real travesty of justice if the pernicious machinations of an ignorant Thai Government allowed him to die without the comfort of his family."

Here is a full account of the arrest of Asloob George:

On 10th November 2015 Asloob George an asykum seeker in Bagnkok 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 five 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 fourth visit to the hospital in June 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 have been asked to expedite the asylum claim for Asloob  and to provide him with Refugee Status Determination, meaning that bail could be applied for with more vigour. They are yet to decide. 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).

comments powered by Disqus