The father of a young woman who died by suicide at the Corradino Correctional Facility is expected to initiate legal proceedings in the constitutional court this week claiming his daughter was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment while in prison.

Martin Borg Nicolas Virtu is also claiming that his daughter Kim’s fundamental human right to life had been breached by the state.

She had been found unconscious in her cell on June 16 and died on July 4, after three weeks in intensive care. Her funeral was held on August 31, her 30th birthday.

The father is holding the State Advocate, CCF director Alex Dalli and others possibly involved in his daughter’s death responsible for their actions or omissions that led to her premature death just three weeks before she was due to be released.

Pushed to the brink, broken

The constitutional case will be filed by the family’s lawyers, Rachel Tua and Edmond Cuschieri, as the police start criminal action against two warders identified by a magisterial inquiry as being the ones who should answer criminally for their actions or circumstances that led to Kim’s death.

The two high-ranking warders will face involuntary homicide charges when they appear before Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo in the coming days.

They will also be charged over their alleged failure to stick to protocols, leading to the prisoner’s death as well as with committing a crime they were duty-bound to prevent in the line of duty.

Involuntary homicide carries a maximum prison term of four years or a fine of €11,600.

Her father broke his silence with an emotional interview with Times of Malta on Friday, insisting his daughter had been driven to insanity by the prison regime.

Kim had been “pushed to the brink” after prison employees “broke her to pieces and shredded her to bits”.

He also claimed that after his daughter told prison warders she felt suicidal, they gave her a blanket and a pair of jogging trousers, which she used for the suicide attempt.

The young woman was serving a two-year jail term after admitting to six counts of fraud and theft last February and had only three more weeks to serve.

Her father said he had never been informed about any issues with his daughter’s mental health. The first time it was mentioned was while she was in the ITU, when a prison doctor told him that his daughter had made four previous suicide attempts, with the last episode just two days before the one that landed her in critical condition in hospital.

This contrasts with what the CCF previously told Times of Malta soon after her death, that she had never expressed any suicidal thoughts, was not on suicide watch and had never been held in solitary confinement.

Another prisoner died in hospital last month, eight days after his attempted suicide sparked an inquiry into mental health procedures in prison. 

If you need emotional support, you can call Richmond Malta’s helpline on 1770. In case of an emergency, call Mater Dei Hospital’s Crisis Intervention Service on 2545 3950. Alternatively, go to OLLI.Chat to chat with a professional 24 hours a day.

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