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Jailed worker to come home from Malaysia

A Cambodian garment worker held in a Malaysian prison due to visa complications for nearly two months despite ailing health was ordered released yesterday and will return home.

Sry Ratha, 19, is still being held at Kluang prison in Johor, Malaysia, Huy Pich Sovann, a program officer with the Community Legal Education Center, said. But a judge at Johor Bahru High Court yesterday ordered the ailing garment worker to be released on November 6 and flown back to Cambodia.

“There’s no word on her health,” Pich Sovann said.

Immigration police in Malaysia arrested Ratha on September 9, after Honsin Apparel Sdn Bhd – the Nike supplier that employed her – sent her on a bus from Malaysia back to Cambodia after failed health screenings resulted in the revocation of Ratha’s work visa.

Brief reports from doctors suggest Ratha may suffer from a urinary tract infection that has now spread to her kidneys or bladder, CLEC said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Phone calls and emails to Nike representatives went unanswered yesterday.

It is not currently clear exactly when Ratha will be released and flown back to Cambodia or what kind of medical treatment she has already had or will receive, Pich Sovann said.

Raja Saifful Ridzuwan, minister counsellor for the Malaysian embassy in Phnom Penh, said he was unaware of the case but looking into it.

Ratha’s release comes at the heels of an announcement by the Cambodian Ministry of Labour that the Kingdom will resume allowing Cambodian maids to work in Malaysia after the practice was banned in late 2011 due to rampant abuses.

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