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Prison authorities accused of maltreatment by family of British Tamil inmate

The brother of Visvalingam Gopithas, who died in a Sri Lankan prison yesterday, has accused the prison authorities of mistreating him, saying he did not receive adequate food and medical attention, reported the BBC.

Gopithas died in Welikada Prison yesterday, after spending 8 years in the prison. The British Tamil was held without charge for 5 years since 2007, before being convicted of providing support to the LTTE in 2012, a charge he always denied.

Tamil politician Mano Ganesan stated that the death was a “political murder” and said that Sinhalese prisoners had beaten up Gopithas in the past.

Ganesan also accused British authorities of “paying little heed” to Gopithas’s welfare, said the BBC.

According to The Independent Gopithas, from Chessington in South London, said he was taking GPS equipment to a friend in London who ran a taxi business, but was arrested in Sri Lanka’s main airport a few day before his return to Britain.

The British Tamils Forum called on the British government to investigate the death.

It urged "the UK government to investigate in detail the death of Mr Kobithas, just as it should investigate the death of any other British Citizen detained abroad" and called on the UK to "take robust action to ensure that those responsible for his death are brought to justice".

Jago Russell of the London-based group Fair Trials International also called for an inqury into the death.

“This was already a tragic case before this happened,” he said  to The Independent.

“There needs to be a complete investigation that gets to the bottom of this.”

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