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Welikada Prison Riot: No Compensation Despite Cabinet Approval

by Ashanthi Warunasuriya

Despite  cabinet approval compensation has not yet been paid to the victims of the Welikada prison riot.

Prisons Reforms Minister D.M. Swaminathan told The Sunday Leader the government will ensure the victims of the incident get justice.

He said his Ministry had been instructed to pay compensation to the victims as cabinet had approved it yet it did not take place.

Meanwhile, as the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) begins an investigation on the Welikada Prison riot, a lawyer appearing on behalf of victims and a key witness have been threatened .

Attorney-At-Law Senaka Perera told The Sunday Leader that he had filed a police complaint over threats to his life while the only eyewitness to the incident Suresh Nandimal has also filed a separate complaint.

The CID was last week instructed to investigate the 2012 incident in which 27 inmates were killed.

Perera said that the families of the victims of the riot are demanding justice and justice is what they must be given.

The Sunday Leader reported recently that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had issued orders to expedite the investigations pertaining to the prison riot and called on the appointed committees to forward their reports and those found guilty are to be brought to book.

In this regard the Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation Minister D.M. Swaminathan had been entrusted with the task of ensuring the relevant reports are issued and on measures to be taken to punish those responsible for the incident.

One of the election promises made by the current good governance regime was to investigate the 2012 Welikada prison riot and ensure that justice is served to those who were killed in an early morning raid the next morning of the day the riots commenced.

A committee appointed by the current regime to investigate the riot had issued a report  in 2015, the report was not made public.

However, it was learnt that the report determines that the inmates killed during the riot were killed in an act of deliberate murder.

The committee had also recommended that the families of those killed should receive compensation.

According to reports the prisoners were deliberately targeted and lined up against the wall and shot. The prisoners were selected and targeted. While the prisoners had got their hands on weapons that day, it is also said that the ammunition for the weapons were given to them by the prison police personnel. This perhaps was to take the incident to a higher platform and it would have been done deliberately.

When the military had been brought in they had ordered the prisoners to surrender their weapons and even after they had complied. Yet prisoners such as Kapila, Jothipala, Kalu Thushara and Amila had been specifically targeted and killed the next morning by another group of military personnel.  During a search conducted by the STF a clash between the prisoners and the security forces escalated and 27 were killed.

Yet some believe that this was a hatched plan to get rid of some notorious drug smugglers. However in this midst even those who had ‘run ins’ with certain officers of the Narcotics Bureau were also targeted and killed during this incident.

“The criminal law must be applied in the investigations as clearly a crime was committed,” Attorney-At-Law Senaka Perera said.

In January this year the Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka (HRCSL) recorded a statement from a journalist over the riot.

The statement was recorded from journalist Kasun Pussewela after he had filed a petition at the HRCSL.

Pussewela had sought an investigation into the incident saying there was ample evidence to prosecute some people who were responsible for killing prisoners who took part in the riot.

The HRCSL obtained written evidence from Pussewela as well as video and photographic evidence.

1 Comment for “Welikada Prison Riot: No Compensation Despite Cabinet Approval”

  1. nimal

    Ranil has been sitting on reports telling how inmates were killed according to a list provided by Colonel psycho aka Gota 7/11.

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