Detainee dies in prison violence

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2000, 17:29 GMT]
One of the 34 wounded Tamil detainees admitted to hospital following violence which erupted at 2 p.m. today at Kalutara Prison, about 40 km. south of Colombo has died, hospital sources said today.

Four of the wounded have been transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo while the others are being retained at Nagoda Hospital, the sources said.

Police have identified the detainee who died as Jesudasan (Ed: one name only).

Sources said Tamil detainees had been staging a hunger strike from yesterday protesting at the prison authorities decision to permanently close the door between 'F' Block and the rest of the prison and had demanded the removal of an armed Sri Lanka Army (SLA) sentry in the area.

Police sources said clashes erupted prison guards attempted to conduct a security search.

Unconfirmed reports said earlier the Tamil detainees were attacked by Sinhala prisoners and guards.

Kalutara North police who are conducting an investigation said 6 prison guards were also injured in the incident.

According to officials 700 Tamil political prisoners are held at Kalutara prison. A large number of them have been detained for several years with out any legal charges against them, the officials said.

The prisoners have staged hunger strike several times earlier appealing for charges to be filed against them or their release effected without delay.


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