Christian brothers tell of shocking treatment in Bangkok detention
Two Pakistani Christian brothers were treated like criminals by Thai authorities and shared a cell the size of a living room with 100 men for nine months in a notorious Bangkok immigrant detention centre.
“Saleem”, a 30-year-old civil engineer, described how he and his brother were “arrested and handcuffed like criminals” before being taken to the centre. They were held in a small, squalid and overcrowded room with 100 other men, sharing only two squat toilets and a water tub, from which the men splashed water on themselves to bathe.
Infectious diseases like tuberculosis and scabies are widespread, but medical facilities are poor. Saleem’s body broke out in hives “I was itching so bad I couldn’t sleep.” His brother also had a lot of health problems including a dust allergy and a bad sinus infection.
The two brothers fled their home in Karachi after receiving death threats and being accused of “blasphemy” by local Muslims and have been trying to claim asylum in Thailand. Due to a lack of medical care, a number of Pakistani refugees detained by Thai authorities have died.
Persecuted church agency, Barnabas Fund said that these stories were widespread. In 2017 the charity helped a seven-year-old Christian boy who fell ill while imprisoned in a detention centre and a woman needing urgent breast cancer surgery.