Thailand: Christian Family Unites After Mother and Daughters Released from Detention

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A Pakistani Christian immigrant family who had suffered due to the imprisonment of three family members is now reunited in Thailand.

Johnson Masih, 40 had migrated to Thailand along with his wife Asia Johnson, 38 and daughters Reemal Johnson 7, Rumaisa Johnson, 6 and Eeshal Johnson, 3 years old.

Johnson’s family met the same fate as hundreds of Pakistani Christians who migrated illegally to Thailand in search
of a safe haven but instead ended up in worse conditions.

In a raid, Asia Johnson was arrested and placed in cuffs and was trundled across to a short term prison before being incarcerated in Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre along with her two young daughters Reemal and Eashal.

At the time of her arrest, Johnson Masih and one of his daughters were not present at home and hence escaped the arrest.

British Pakistani Christian Association played their role in trying to help the woman and her daughters and to escalate their release but their efforts were thwarted by the IDC officers who fixed dates for submissions of bail appeals and then postponed these hearings with no specific reason being provided.

BPCA also reported that during the debilitating incarceration Asia and her children developed rashes, vomited frequently and suffered high temperatures.

After 63 days of imprisonment in brutal conditions, Asia was released on February 25, 2016. She and her daughters are now united with the father and sister.

Asia was overwhelmed by her release, she told BPCA: ” I am extremely thankful to all those that donated to the BPCA, I did not think I would ever see freedom. My children are now so thin they feel like they will break when I pick them up and they Many victims have been incarcerated for over 6 months and my heart goes out to my suffering brothers and sisters still detained. I pray that they may be released soon.”

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said: “There are believed to be close to ten thousand Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand. Charities and churches are finding it extremely difficult to support their needs and their illegal status does not permit them to work, making them vulnerable to exploitation. Time after time we have raised this issue with the UNHCR but find their approach to the concerns woeful due to exhibited insouciance. We have worked with the BBC to raise awareness of the plight of the suffering victims in Thailand and pray that the global community together can exert more significant pressure to achieve change.”