Durban father arrested for allegedly stealing a chocolate dies at Westville Prison
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Durban: Shaida Rymon made an early start on Wednesday, September 27. She left her home in Glenhills just after 6.30am to walk to the KwaDukuza Magistrate’s Court, where her husband, Mubeen, 25, was set to appear before a magistrate.
She wanted to be there early because she was concerned about him. Mubeen was arrested on September 19 after allegedly stealing a chocolate from a local shop.
He had appeared before a magistrate the next day, and the matter was adjourned for a week. However, two days after going to Westville Prison, authorities there phoned to say he was not well and was being moved to the prison hospital.
Shaida sat in the public gallery hoping for him to appear in court. When his name was called out, officials told the magistrate he had not been brought from prison. The matter was adjourned to the next day.
The next morning, Shaida again walked to court. Once again, there was no sign of him. Shortly after she returned home, prison authorities called her father-in-law and asked him to meet them at Westville Prison the next day.
The family got to the facility on September 29, only to be informed that Mubeen had died six days earlier, apparently of natural causes.
According to Mubeen’s brother, Mueen, prison officials told them that nobody was able to notify them of the death due to the Heritage Day long weekend. But, for Mueen and his family, that’s not good enough.
"I went to the prison with my parents, and we were informed that my brother died of natural causes on September 23. We were in shock.
“My mother broke down in tears. We asked the staff why we were informed almost a week later. They told us it was the long weekend, and there was no staff available to notify us.
"I just looked at the official. I could not believe what he was telling us. I asked what led to the cause of his death. I asked about his final moments. But nobody could give us answers.
“I also explained that, as Muslims, it is our custom to bury within 24 hours. But even that did not move them."
Mueen said they were told his brother’s body was in Pinetown, and they left to view it and prepare for the funeral.
"We buried him the same day. We have been apologising to God because his burial was done so late. All the prayers and rituals we do to ensure his soul finds peace is now delayed.
“All we want is for the Department of Correctional Services to give us feedback on what happened. Just telling us he died is not enough.”
Mueen said his brother was addicted to the drug Whoonga. He was partially sighted and collected a disability grant.
“Although he was on drugs, my brother did what he could for his two daughters, aged four and two. He loved his children.
Moulana Abdullah Khan, of Jamiatul Ulama KZN (Council of Muslim Theologians), said: "It is reported that when one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad was nearing his death, the Prophet said to those around him, I feel the time of his death has come. If he dies, then I should be informed, and funeral arrangements should be made quickly, for it is not appropriate that the dead body of a Muslim be left to stay amongst his family members for long.
"It is also narrated that the Prophet said, when one of you dies, do not keep him in the house for long. Make haste in taking him to the grave and burying him.”
Khan said, based on these traditions, as well as others, Muslims were advised to bury their deceased as soon as it was reasonably possible.
The Department of Correctional Services did not comment at the time of publication.