COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Visvalingam Gobithas, a British citizen of Tamil origin, was found dead Monday at Welikada Prison in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Gobithas, 43, was detained in 2007 by Sri Lankan authorities under the nation's Prevention of Terrorism Act. Authorities accused him of financially backing the Tamil Tigers, a separatist militant organization, which Gobithas denied. He was finally convicted in 2012 after being held without charge for five years.
Officials reported the cause of death as heart failure, but members of his family maintain that the circumstances surrounding his death are dubious; Gobithas was the victim of previous altercations with Sinhalese prisoners: he was tortured in 2011, and he survived an attempt on his life in 2012. Fellow inmates have also called for an investigation.
Mano Ganesan, a Tamil politician, reproached Britain for lack of attention to Gobithas' well-being. The UK's Foreign Office asserts it is providing Gobithas' family with consular support at this juncture.
[Tamil Guardian] [BBC]