1 dead as quarantined inmates attempted jailbreak in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- At least one inmate lost his life when a group of prisoners attempted to break out from a jail turned into a quarantine center in Sri Lanka, officials said on Wednesday.

The prisoners tried to escape from the Bogambara prison in Kandy late Tuesday night.

Guards, however, foiled their escape plan and stopped them before they could run away, Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya told the media.

He said one of the inmates died as he fell while scaling down the prison wall.

The guards arrested four other escapees.

The same group of inmates was involved in a protest earlier this week, urging the authorities to provide them with sufficient facilities inside the complex.

In a related development, inmates at a prison in Colombo staged a rooftop protest on Wednesday evening, demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa address their issues.

They flashed placards, urging “President, please save us from Covid-19,” police said.

There has been a sudden spike in prisoners testing positive for the coronavirus in Sri Lanka, which has reported a total of 18,075 virus infections and 66 deaths.

Upuldeniya said over 500 inmates and prison officers contracted the virus in the country.

The government, earlier this week, canceled the leaves of all prison officers as it took emergency steps to control the outbreak.

“This a very critical situation. With the Covid-19 outbreak, inmates do not even have the minimum facilities such as proper meals,” President of Committee to Protect Rights of Prisoners attorney-at-law Senaka Perera told EFE.

He said prisons across the island house around 25,000 inmates, more than their capacity.

He said the current outbreak would further strain the conditions.

In March this year, an inmate lost his life after guards opened fire in a clash with inmates.

The inmates were demanding better facilities as fears spread of a possible Covid-19 outbreak.

“There will be more riots in prisons if the government does not intervene and solve their problems,” Perera said. EFE-EPA


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