Video Shows Dead Sri Lankan Pleaded to Go to Hospital

Jiji Press
Family members of Wishma Sandamali on Dec. 26 show a photo of her and DVDs video footage containing of Washima recorded during her detention at an immigration facility.

NAGOYA (Jiji Press) —Video footage of a Sri Lankan woman who died at an immigration facility in central Japan shows that she repeatedly pleaded to be taken to hospital, Jiji Press has confirmed.

The roughly five-hour security camera footage showed Wishma Sandamali struggling during her detainment at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

She died at age 33 in March 2021. Her family has filed a lawsuit against the government demanding damages.

The viewed footage contained 10-minute scenes from videos taken by a security camera on the ceiling of Wishma’s room over the roughly two weeks leading up to her death.

The footage was included in a total of 20 DVDs submitted by the government last December as evidence on the recommendation of Nagoya District Court.

Wishma’s family has requested that the video be shown in a public trial, but the government has refused. The matter is expected to be discussed at a hearing Wednesday.

The first clip showed a frail Wishma lying on her back in bed around 10 a.m. (1 a.m. GMT) Feb. 22, 2021. A female nurse told her that she needed to try hard to eat, to which Wishma responded in a teary voice that she wanted to eat if she could.

In a clip from 7 p.m. the following day, Wishma was holding a bucket and vomiting. She then collapsed and repeatedly said that she was going to die.

A female guard only responded by telling her: “Don’t worry, you will not die. If you die, it will be troublesome.”

Even after Wishma pleaded to be taken to hospital, the guard said that she could only do so if her boss approved and that she did not have any authority.

According to the Immigration Services Agency’s investigative report, Wishma’s urine test as of Feb. 15, 2021 had shown abnormal results indicating starvation.

In the next month, she was unable to maintain her posture when sitting up.

On the day of her death, March 6, guards loudly called out repeatedly at an unmoving Wishma whose eyes were closed around 2 p.m.

They took her pulse and said that her fingertips were cold while her cheeks were warm. But they did not seem to be hurrying to call an ambulance.

“Trials are open to the public in principle, and the bereaved family hopes that many citizens will be able to see the video,” Shoichi Ibusuki, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said. “Once people see it, they will know what is going on inside the immigration bureau.”