A 32-year-old inmate at the high-security Maafushi prison died around 7:50 am Thursday morning while undergoing treatment at the island’s medical centre.
Ibrahim Asgar, from the Vaijaheyge in the Maafanu ward of the capital, was serving a 12-year sentence on drug charges.
“He was taken out of his cell yesterday because he was feeling ill and was being treated at the medical center when he died this morning,” Ahmed Lugman, spokesman for the Maldives Correctional Service, told the Maldives Independent.
Doctors have not determined the cause of death, he added.
“The body was taken to [the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé] after his death. The IGMH and the police will investigate the cause of death,” Lugman said.
The victim’s family has been informed of the custodial death.
Ahmed Mausoom, the IGMH’s spokesman, said the body was brought over around 9:20 am and that doctors will note down their findings in the death certificate, after which the police are likely to carry out an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death.
The police spokesman said an investigation is underway and declined to disclose details.
In late July, a 52-year-old inmate from the Maafushi prison died while undergoing treatment at the IGMH. According to the MCS, Mohamed Badeeu, from the Henveiru Landhooge in the capital, was a diabetes patient.
Five inmates died in custody during the past year.
In December, Ahmed Hassan, 55, was found dead by prison guards at the low-security Asseyri jail on the island of Himmafushi.
A 28-year-old man died in November while awaiting trial at the high-security Maafushi prison.Hussain Zareer died at IGMH nearly 24 hours after he was brought to the capital for medical care.
He was the third detainee to die while awaiting trial last year.
In September, a 57-year-old man died while being held in pre-trial detention at a remand centre in Malé. Adam Ali, detained on charges of child abuse, fainted and was rushed to the IGMH, where he was pronounced dead by doctors.
In late August, a 55-year-old man died en route to the hospital in Malé from the police remand facility on the island of Dhoonidhoo, ten minutes by speedboat from the capital.
Moosa Naeem was buried after the family decided not to ask for a postmortem.
The death prompted allegations on social media of Naseem being denied regular health checkups. He was reportedly taking medication for a heart disease.
The watchdog bodies, the Human Rights Commission and National Integrity Commission, launched inquiries at the time, but have yet to share findings with the public.
Other custodial deaths in recent years include the death of a 23-year-old who died of apparent natural causes at the Maafushi jail in May 2014. He had complained of chest pains before his death.
In 2014, Ibrahim Azar died from severe injuries inflicted by his cell mates. According to the prisons authority, Azar had requested to be transferred from his cell more than an hour before the assault.
Other high-profile custodial deaths include that of Hussain Solah, who was found dead in Malé’s lagoon in 2007, and of 19-year-old Evan Naseem, who was tortured to death by prison guards in 2003.
Evan’s murder triggered riots and fuelled a pro-democracy movement that unseated former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after 30 years in power.