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Death of Tamil man following prison release sparks suspicion

File photograph: Tamil protest for justice after Nagarasa Alex was tortured to death in November 2023

Kanesh Nishanthan who was recently released from Jaffna prison, died yesterday, sparking suspicion over the cause of his death.

The 28 year old, who hails from Nallur was detained and held at the Jaffna prison and was released on the 26th of this month. 

Nishanthan's body has been handed over to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital for post-mortem examination. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined. 

This is not the first time such suspicious deaths have been reported. In November last year, Nagarasa Alex, a 25-year-old resident of Sithankerni, Jaffna, died due to torture at the hands of Sri Lankan police. The incident has sparked outrage, with a video circulating on social media capturing the young man's harrowing account of the brutality he endured. The video, in which he details the horrific torture inflicted upon him, has gone viral, intensifying demands for justice. 

According to Alex's relatives, he was called for an investigation by the Vaddukkottai police on November 8, 2023. Fearing for his safety, Alex took a friend along. When the duo did not return home, their families sought answers from the police, receiving no satisfactory response.

When the families went to the police station, they claimed to have heard Alex's screams. Upon demanding to see him, the police reportedly issued threats. Subsequently, a complaint was filed with the Jaffna regional office of the Human Rights Commission.

While in detention, Alex's health deteriorated, leading to his admission to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital by the prison administration. Though he was subsequently discharged from the hospital back into police custody, he was found to be dead when brought back to the hospital on November 19, according to the cause of death form. A post-mortem examination revealed Alex had sustained “multiple injuries”.

The cause of death form issued by the office of the judicial medical officer found that there were “abrasions and contusions” on the “trunk, both upper limbs and both lower limbs”. 

More on the story can be found here

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