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Family of Chinese Immigrant Who Died in Detention Sues ICE

World Journal, News Report, Yan Tai, Translated by Jun Wang Posted: Feb 12, 2009

NEW YORK Chinese immigrant Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng died of late stage liver cancer at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island last August after having suffered "brutal, inhumane, vicious and abusive" treatment there. His wife and sons, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union Rhode Island affiliate, brought a lawsuit Monday against the Wyatt Detention Facility and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for negligence and violent abuse.

Ng, 34, was born in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province in mainland China and moved to Hong Kong before immigrating to the United States. Steven Brown, ACLU director, said Monday that the suit iasks for compensation for Ng's wife and their four-year-old and two-year-old sons from the Central Falls Detention Facility Corp., which runs the Wyatt Detention facility, jailers at the detention center and ICE officials who arrested Ng. The ACLU brought 14 charges against the defendants, and did not disclose the amount that the family is requesting.

Brown emphasized that they are not only working to obtain justice for the Ng family, but they also hope to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. July Rabinovitz, ACLU attorney in charge of national immigrants' rights, said there are many new immigrants like Ng who don't pose a threat to others but that ICE uses too much force in arresting them and doesn't care about their life in the detention center.

Ng family attorney Jack McConnell said Ng, who had an incurable disease, suffered unimaginable pain in the detention center. But the facility refused many times to give him access to medical care and didn't allow Ng to use a wheelchair, which was requested by his doctor. The jailers accused Ng of pretending to be sick and tortured him mercilessly, the suit alleges, and when he cried out in pain, jailers "treated him like an animal, dragging him into a truck like dragging a piece of furniture." The facility didn't take account of Ng's terrible physical condition, but treated him like a convicted felon, shackling him at his hands, feet and waist, McConnell said.

ICE has started investigating the Ng case and has confirmed illegal conduct at Wyatt. The ICE contract with the facility has been terminated. Both ICE and the Wyatt Detention facility declined Monday to comment on the Ng case.

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