Advertisement

British citizen, political prisoner perishes in Sri Lankan prison

Man of Tamil origin held for years without charges; death regarded as circumspect.

By
Justin Mueller
Tamils hold placards and chant slogans as they demonstrate in Paris, April 30, 2009 to call for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and the immediate intervention of the international community. Sri Lanka's president ruled out halting the military's offensive against the Tamil Tigers, and warned the rebels that they must give up or be killed. (File/UPI Photo/Eco Clement)
Tamils hold placards and chant slogans as they demonstrate in Paris, April 30, 2009 to call for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and the immediate intervention of the international community. Sri Lanka's president ruled out halting the military's offensive against the Tamil Tigers, and warned the rebels that they must give up or be killed. (File/UPI Photo/Eco Clement) | License Photo

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.

Advertisement

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]

Latest Headlines