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Video shows dead Sri Lankan woman treated like animal: family

  • August 13, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 1:24 a.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Aug. 12 (Jiji Press)–Surveillance camera footage has shown that a Sri Lankan woman was treated like an animal by immigration officials just before she died at a detention facility in Japan, bereaved family members said Thursday.

 

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan showed the video, edited to about two hours, to the visiting bereaved family members of the women, Wishma Sandamali, who died at age 33 in March.

 

They urged the agency to show all of the unedited version.

 

She died at the facility in the central Japan city of Nagoya after her health deteriorated around January. She came to Japan in 2017 to study Japanese but was taken to the facility in August last year due to illegal overstaying.

 

Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa and agency Commissioner Shoko Sasaki offered an apology to the bereaved family members.

 

The family members watched the video after hearing explanations from agency officials about an investigation report released Tuesday by the agency. The report found medical care system flaws at the facility.

 

The disclosed video was edited from the original footage covering the last two weeks before the Sri Lankan’s death.

 

The video showed that an immigration official laughed at her as she spilled a drink, saying that “milk is dripping out of her nose.” She was also left on the floor after falling out of the bed, according to the footage.

 

The agency disclosed the video to the bereaved family members and an interpreter. Their lawyers were not allowed to accompany them.

 

The family members could not watch the video until the end as they were shocked by its content. The remaining part will be shown to them later.

 

After the day’s viewing, Poornima, the 27-year-old sister of the dead woman, said her sister was killed by immigration officials, adding that it should have been possible for them to hospitalize her temporarily for treatment.

 

Poornima said that all foreigners in Japan should watch the video, as she sensed discrimination against non-Japanese people by facility staff.

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