30 Sri Lankan prisoners injured during prison riot

Rioting inmates in Sri Lanka’s main remand prison in capital Colombo were met with tear gas and gunfire on Tuesday, January 24.

Approximately 30 inmates were wounded including five prison officials, media reports. Most injuries were minor however two individuals are in critical condition.

Most injuries were gunshot wounds sustained below the knee, indicating an intent not to kill.

Colombo Page reports that 187 hardcore LTTE suspects have since been moved into a separate prison facility.

According to media reports inmates began rioting at Magazine/Welikada prison to protest overcrowding and the poor quality of food, setting fire to some buildings in the process. The prison’s record room was targeted, reports the BBC, however the damage is not irrevocable.

Head of Sri Lanka’s prison department admitted to BBC reporters that prison conditions were below standard.

In 2010 over 50 police and prison guards were wounded in a clash with inmates after attempting to seize cell phones which were being used illegally.


Inmates in Maafushi prison allegedly injured after clashes with prison officers

It is alleged that violent clashes between inmates and prison officers have erupted at Maafushi prison over the last few days as inmates reportedly attempted to inform prison officers about the illness of a cell-bound inmate.

”On Monday night an inmate’s medical condition appeared to become serious and the other prisoners tried to call to the prison officers, but they never responded.  So the inmates knocked the prison bars to get the attention of prison officers,” a person familiar with the incident told Minivan News on condition of anonymity.  ”Then a squad of prison officers came to the cell and beat down those who shook the bars.”

He claimed that violence again erupted yesterday afternoon after prison officers armed with metal and wooden batons came inside the cell leading to violent clashes between prison officers and the inmates.

”One inmate got a broken shoulder, another inmate broke his nose and another injured his eyes because prison officers hit and broke the glasses he was wearing,” he alleged. ”Nobody cares for the inmates, only some politicians speak about it, but only for political purposes and not with the intention of correcting anything.”

He also claimed that recently, inmates had demanded to see the prison warden over allegations that prisoners who were kept in isolation for hours were also tortured with batons.

”There has never been any treatment programs held inside the prison, all that the prison officers do is threaten and torture,” claimed the anonymous source.

The source also claimed that fellow prisoners were expected to very soon “stand up for the nation” and reveal the secrets hidden behind the work of the political figures in the country.

”Infamous ‘Chicka’ [Ibrahim Nafiz] will also be out from the prison one day, he will tell the people publicly about the work former Commissioner of Police Brigadier Adam Zahir assigned him to do,” he said. ”It would not be kept as a secret anymore.”

Head of Department and Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services [DPRS] Moosa Azim told Minivan News that clashes between inmates and prison officers take place very often and that it was ”nothing too serious.”

”Everyday there will be a clash between the inmates and prison officers,” said Azim. ”We give the highest priority to the safety of the inmates, then the safety of our staffs.”

He said that he had no information about the clash that occurred yesterday and Monday night.