Video of Sri Lankan in Custody Before Her Death in Japan Viewed by Yomiuri Reporter

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Wishma Sandamali

NAGOYA — A Yomiuri Shimbun reporter viewed surveillance video footage from the last two weeks before a Sri Lankan woman died in custody at a Nagoya immigration facility in March 2021.

Wishma Sandamali, 33, died after complaining of poor health while in custody at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

The footage was submitted by the government as evidence in a lawsuit filed by Wishma’s bereaved family in the Nagoya District Court demanding state compensation.

The reporter viewed parts of the video at the district court under a system for viewing civil litigation records.

The following are some notes based on the video clips:

In a clip dated Feb. 23, 2021, at the 7 p.m. hour, Wishma vomits in bed. She then cries out in Japanese, “I’m going to die.”

A female guard says: “Don’t worry, you won’t die. It’s troublesome if you die.”

Wishma pleads with the guard to “take me to the hospital,” but the guard refuses, saying, “I’d like to, but I don’t have the authority.”

In a clip from Feb. 26, 2021, at the 5 a.m. hour, Wishma seemingly loses her balance while getting up and falls off the bed. Two female guards alerted over the intercom try to lift her back onto bed by Wishma’s arms and legs but fail.

One of the guards says: “Hold on until morning. I’m sorry.” The guards then cover Wishma with a blanket and leave the room.

As the day progresses, Wishma’s voice becomes weaker. On several occasions, she could only utter moaning sounds.

The last clip the reporter saw was dated March 6, 2021, at the 2 p.m. hour. Wishma does not respond to a guard’s calls. The guard reports over the intercom that Wishma’s fingertips feel a little cold and takes her pulse.

Wishma was pronounced dead at the hospital where she was taken at around 3:25 p.m. that same day.