The 25-year-old prisoner who died overnight in Corradino Correctional Facility has been identified as Ihtisham Ihtisham, a Pakistani national.
The sudden death of the young man, who was said to be in good health by his family and was set to be released on Christmas Day, 25th December, has left many wondering what happened. A magisterial inquiry is underway and the results from an autopsy can be expected – but his family have been left disappointed and shocked at the way they were treated.
“Ihtisham passed away on the 19th November, and his death was not communicated to anyone, not even his family,” Dr Jacques Grima, Ihtisham’s lawyer, told Lovin Malta. “No one within the correctional facility had the decency to contact the family members or lawyers to inform them.”
Grima himself only found out about the death after it was reported online; Ihtisham’s family, likewise, only found out about their son’s death after Grima told them himself, and not any state authority.
Worse off, the family were left angry at the way they were treated when they contacted the facility over the phone yesterday to confirm the death.
“At this stage the family are under shock and would like to express their utmost disappointment at the correctional facility for depriving them of their basic right to be informed about the medical state of their family member,” Grima said.
“It is unacceptable that in a country which upholds the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights, we allow a human life to be lost with such blatant disregard to the person’s life.”
Ihtisham came to Malta in the hopes of starting a better life.
During his stay in Malta he was charged with being in possession of a forged document. Ihtisham pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months imprisonment. He was due to be released on Christmas Day and was in contact with his family to prepare the arrangements for him to immediately go back home to Pakistan on the day of his release.
His death has thrown his family into complete disarray.
Ihtisham last spoke to his brother for 24 minutes on Wednesday 18th November, a day before his death. He was “keen and optimistic” about leaving prison soon and being reunited with his family.
The family is perplexed that Ihtisham, who was in good health, “died suddenly in his sleep” with no other explanation given. His family were in regular touch with him, and were excited to spend the holidays with him in Pakistan.
The last time they spoke to him, he was in good spirits and was complaining about the food in prison, asking them to send some money over.
At this stage, his family and lawyer pledged to do everything they can to ensure that the truth with regards to this cause of Ihtisham’s death is brought out.
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