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Appeals against High Court verdict of Khuram Shaikh murder withdrawn, convicts to serve sentences

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 14 March 2019 02:23

The convicts of the Khuram Shaikh murder case have withdrawn the appeals by them against the High Court verdict imposing a 20-year sentence.

The appeals have been filed by the three convicts, including the former Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Sampath Vidanapathirana, who were sentenced over the murder of British national Khuram Shaikh and the rape of his Russian partner in 2011.

The appeals were called before the Court of Appeal Judges Shiran Gunaratne and Priyantha Fernando yesterday.

Attorneys appearing on behalf of the main suspect, former Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Pushpa Vidanapathirana and three others, informed the court that they are prepared to withdraw their clients’ appeals against the punishment. The lawyers requested the court to allow them to withdraw the appeals.

The Court of Appeal, which granted permission to withdraw the appeals, ordered to impose the sentences on the convicts from the day the Colombo High Court issued the verdict. A fourth defendant has not withdrawn his appeal, and his appeal was due to be called on 24 July. The Colombo High Court had imposed 20-year rigorous imprisonment on the five convicts for the murder of British national Khuram Shaikh and the rape of his Russian partner.

However, the convicts had appealed that the imprisonment order issued by the Colombo High Court in 2014 is against the law and sought the Appeals Court to issue an order to acquit them. Khuram Shaikh Zaman, 32, was killed and his companion, Victoria Alexandrovna of Russia was assaulted and gang raped in a brawl during a party at a tourist hotel in Rekawa, Tangalle on Christmas Eve in 2011.

The main suspect, UPFA Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana and six others, were arrested and remanded following the murder, but the case dragged on due to the political influence of the suspects until international pressure mounted on the Sri Lankan government to bring the culprits to justice.

The case was later transferred from the Tangalle Magistrate’s Court to Colombo on the request of the Attorney General since the suspects have been threatening the witnesses at the trial.

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