A case report into the suicide of a 27-year-old convict at Nicosia Central Prison was yesterday delivered to the Ministry of Justice for review.
Speaking to the media, Minister of Justice Ionas Nicolaou said the probe would determine the circumstances surrounding the death and clarify whether negligence on behalf of prison personnel played a part.
“We will not stand by idly while people end their lives at the prison,” said Nicolaou.
Prison guards found the body of the convict, who was serving a sentence for manslaughter, hanged in his cell on Thursday at around 7.30am.
The preliminary findings of the investigation ruled out foul play.
Nicolaou added that he intended to thoroughly examine the report which contains details surrounding the death as well as comments from the victim’s psychologist at the prison.
“If for example, the doctor’s report states that this man should not have been in prison because he was a high suicide risk then the case must be investigated further.”
The minister confirmed that a second report detailing the violent episodes that occurred in the prison following the suicide would be submitted to the ministry on Monday.
“I have requested from the standing prison director that a separate report into the troubles that broke following the suicide is sent to the ministry.”
According to the prison’s management, upon hearing news of the suicide a number of angered convicts refused to go back into their cells causing a stand-off with guards
Police officers were dispatched to the prison to help restore order.
However, during the scuffles that followed three prisoners and three guards suffered minor injuries.
Standing prison director George Tryfonides said the death was being investigated by the prison as well as the police.
“At a first glance it does not appear that negligence was a factor.”
Tryfonides added that overpopulation at the prison was making it more challenging to effectively monitor all prisoners.
“We cannot watch the prisoners all the time. Each wing has 100 convicts and only three or four guards.”
This latest incident being the second prison suicide in as many months has raised questions on how the authorities treat vulnerable inmates.