Investigations underway into death of British citizen in Magazine Prison

Investigations underway into death of British citizen in Magazine Prison

Written by Staff Writer

25 Feb, 2014 | 9:40 pm

Investigations are underway to  inquire into the death of an inmate at the Magazine Prison.

Prisons Commissioner, General Chandraratne Pallegama stated that the body was found inside the prison toilets. The inmate was identified as forty-three-year-old Viswalingam Gopidas – a British citizen.

He had previously resided in the Point Pedro area in Jaffna.

He was arrested in 2007 at the Katunayake Airport and charged with assisting the LTTE and sentenced to five years in prison under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Prisons Commissioner General, Chandraratne Pallegama speaking on the subject said:

“He was arrested under the 1979 Prevention of Terrorism Act No. 48. He was sentenced on the 27th of July in 2012. He was due to be pardoned on the 3rd of December 2015. Therefore, he was here at the Magazine Prison. Last morning he had gone to the toilet as per normal. But due to him taking a long time the other prisoners had decided to investigate.”

“They had seen him lying on the floor clutching his chest and we immediately notified the officials and took him to the Prison Hospital. We admitted him to the hospital at about 9.35 in the morning but he had already passed away by then.”

The body was lying at the office of the Judicial Medical Officer for the report on the death of the inmate. The body was investigated by magistrate Nirosha Fernando of the  Colombo Magistrates’ Courts No. 02. Thereafter he was referred to the coroner for the results.

The relations of Viswalingam Gopidas who also reside in Britain had arrived at the office of the Judicial Medical Officer.

Father of Vishwalingam Gopidas expressed his grief:

“I went to the prison as soon as I heard. I understood by the conversation of the prison officials that my son had died. It was then that the body was taken to the mortuary. My son had no problems. I do not know what happened inside.”

We at News1st made inquiries regarding this incident from the British High Commissioners Office as well.

A senior officer there stated that they are aware of of the death of a British citizen and necessary steps will be taken to inquire into the matter.

Meanwhile,  the Judical Medical Officer conducted his tests  on Tuesday evening.

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