THE justice ministry’s prisons department expressed concern on Friday that people in need of help from special treatment centres end up in holding cells, following the death in the central prisons earlier in the day of a 37-year-old Polish inmate suffering from alcoholism.
The man was found dead in his holding cell early Friday morning. Initial investigations indicate that the 37-year-old probably suffered a heart attack.
He was taken to the central prison on Thursday afternoon to serve a 15-day sentence for causing a disturbance while drunk.
The prisons department said in an announcement that he was placed in a cell in the increased surveillance wing after declaring that he was an alcoholic when he arrived at the central prison.
Wardens and nurses on duty rushed to provide first aid but he had already died. A prison doctor who examined the body said that it appears that the man suffered a heart attack.
The man had no family in Cyprus, while the Polish embassy was informed of his death.
A post mortem is to shed light on the cause of death.
“As Prisons Department, we express our condolences and at the same time our concern that, irrespective of the criminal offence, people who need help from special treatment centres end up in the prison,” it said.
The incident gave main opposition Akel the opportunity to turn once more against Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou, from whom it demanded explanations as to the circumstances surrounding the arrest, prosecution and detention of the 37-year-old. The party asked how the system worked in cases of arrest of persons in need of medical care.
In response, Nicolaou said that all is done by the book as to the assessment of the health condition of each person admitted to the central prison. He also slammed his critics of being motivated by populism and for taking advantage of the “loss of a human life to serve other interests”.
The Polish inmate’s death was the second such incident at the central prison the last ten days.
On August 2, an 18-year-old male detainee was found dead in his cell.
Andreas Sofroniou from Limassol, who was on remand in connection with burglary and theft, had choked on his own vomit. Toxicology tests were expected to indicate whether Sofroniou had used drugs prior to his death.