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14 Lives Lost: A Look At The Inmates Who Died In Malta’s Prison Since 2018

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Malta’s prison, Corradino Correctional Facility, is under the microscope yet again after another inmate committed suicide within its walls. 

Since the start of 2018, 14 prisoners have died while incarcerated in Malta’s prison. Its director, Colonel Alex Dalli, has suspended himself pending investigation, while an inquiry into the practices inside the prison is underway. 

Of the 14, seven are the result of suspected spice, four are by natural causes, while the rest are as yet unconfirmed pending magisterial inquiries.

Here is a look back at all the inmates that died during their time serving prison sentences.

7th June 2018 – Mamadou Sakine, 35 years old

Sakine was in prison under preventative arrest over rape accusations. He was discovered unconscious in his cell by prison guards.

An autopsy uncovered that he died of natural causes, namely coronary artery thrombosis. 

11th December 2018 – Seajay Cardona, 26 years old

Cardona was serving time for assaulting his former partner. The death is suspected to be a suicide.

26th December 2018 – Steven Farrugia, 34 years old

Farrugia had several convictions against him, including drugs and theft. A short while after complaining of chest pains, he was found unconscious in his cell. He had asked for painkillers in order to subside his chest pains. 

The inquiry is still ongoing. 

13th March 2019 – Noel Calleja, 39 years old

Calleja was in prison pending trial for attempted murder and domestic violence. 

The inquiry is still ongoing, however, the death is suspected to be a suicide.

27th October 2019 – Mario Jean-Paul Carmelo Fenech

Fenech was found unconscious in his cell and rushed to Mater Dei Hospital, where he eventually died. 

The inquiry is still underway however, the death is suspected to be yet another suicide. 

25th November 2019 – Francis Formosa, 49 years old

Formosa was found unconscious in his cell and died later on. There were no signs of external violence. The magisterial inquiry is still ongoing. 

29th November 2019 – Ben Ali Wahid Ben Hassine, 57 years old

Ben Hassine was serving a life sentence over the murder of four people in 1988.

He was hospitalised in Mater Dei Hospital and died several days later. At the time, reports had suggested that the death was possibly a suicide. An inquiry is still ongoing.

24th February 2020 – John Attard, 72 years old

He was an accomplice in the murder of Fortunata Spiteri, which happened back in 2001. His dead body was found in his cell in the early hours of the morning. Authorities claim that he died of natural causes caused by coronary artery disease and myocardial hypertrophy.

5th September 2020 – Gordon Calleja, 45 years old

He was convicted of attempted murder and found dead in his cell. The authorities said that he had died of natural causes caused by narrowed heart arteries. 

7th September 2020 – Nazzareno Mifsud, 57 years old

Attard was awaiting extradition to the USA on the crime of having sexually molested two young boys. He committed suicide during his break time in his cell.

19th November 2020 – Ihtisham Ihtisham, 25 years old

Ihtisham, who was serving time for being in possession of a forged identity document, was found dead in his cell

Pathologists found that his cause of death was consistent with a disease of the heart muscle. Experts said that there were numerous causes for his death, possibly even genetic factors, which could lead to “sudden cardiac death”. The inquiry found that there was no neglect on the part of CCF.

4th July 2021 – Kim Borg Nicolas Virtu, 29 years old

The young woman, who was in prison for minor theft, was discovered unconscious in her cell on 16th June, dying three weeks later. At the time, the prison claimed that she was not suicidal, a claim which has been resoundingly dismissed by the victim’s father.

Speaking to Times of Malta, Martin Borg Nicholas detailed how his daughter experienced episodes of bullying and periods of isolation over minor issues.

Two female wardens have since been charged with involuntary homicide.

17th August 2021 – Colin Galea, 30 years old

Galea, who was in prison for attempted robbery, was found unconscious in his cell on 9th August following a suicide attempt. He died eight days later on 17th August.

Evidence has been published showing that Galea had been self-harming in the lead up to his suicide.

The incident prompted the Home Affairs Ministry to set up an internal inquiry, chaired by psychiatrist Anton Grech, to look into the assessment of the mental and physical health of both new and longstanding inmates.

10th November 2021 – Arun Jose, 35 years old 

Arun Jose, a 35-year-old Indian national, committed suicide inside Corradino Correctional Facility. He was discovered in his cell within Division 4 by a prison guard.

Jose was charged in May concerning the solitary charge of having committed a non-consensual sexual act in respect of the 20-year-old female patient at Mater Dei Hospital. 

He was in prison pending that case and an incident allegedly involving minors. 

An investigation has been opened and an inquiry is underway. Prison Directo Alex Dalli has suspended himself.

Is there something wrong in Malta’s prison?

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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