Disturbing Video Released of Sri Lankan Woman’s Treatment Before Death at Japanese Detention Facility


In a disturbing development, security camera footage of a Sri Lankan woman who died while being held at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Japan has been released publicly for the first time. The footage, which was shown at a press conference in Tokyo, depicts Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, aged 33, bedridden and begging officers to take her to the hospital just two weeks before her death.

The video also reveals an officer and nurse chatting cheerfully while tending to Wishma as she moaned in pain. In a clip from the day she died, an officer can be seen trying to wake an unresponsive Wishma after reporting that her fingertips felt cold.

Wishma arrived in Japan in 2017 as a student, but she was taken into custody at the immigration facility in August 2020 for overstaying her visa. She died on March 6, 2021, after complaining of ill health, which included vomiting and stomachaches, for around a month. Her death sparked national outrage over her treatment, forcing the government to drop a bill revising rules on foreigners facing deportation, including asylum seekers.

Wishma’s family is now seeking damages from the government, alleging that she was illegally detained and died due to a lack of necessary medical care. The government, however, has resubmitted the bill in the current Diet session, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stating that its “early enactment is essential to prevent the recurrence of similar cases and to solve the problem of long-term detention”.


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