The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

Prisoner’s death caused by heart condition, autopsy confirms

Neil Camilleri Saturday, 21 November 2020, 13:40 Last update: about 12 days ago

A 25-year-old prison inmate who was found dead in his cell earlier this week died as a result of a heart condition, an autopsy has confirmed.

Sources close to the investigation said Pakistani national Ihtisham Ihtisham suffered from a condition known as cardiomyopathy, which can lead to an enlargement of the heart, making it harder for the organ to pump blood to the entire body.

The prison authorities announced the man’s death on Thursday, saying that initial investigations suggested that the man died in his sleep.

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Speaking to Times of Malta, his lawyer said the man’s family was certain that Ihtisham did not suffer from any medical conditions.

The family also said it was not contacted by the prison authorities.

But the prison service said on Saturday that it had not made contact with the family because, upon admission to the facility, Ihtisham had not provided any contact details. As such, the police had followed established procedure for such cases and made contact with the Pakistani consulate.

Ihtisham had been sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of being in possession of a forged document. His family says he came to Malta to “chase a dream” and find employment. He was due to be released from prison on Christmas Day.

The Nationalist Party and civil society NGO REpubblika have called for the dismissal of prison director Alexander Dalli, pointing out that this is the 11th prison death under his watch. A magisterial inquiry is underway.

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