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Massacre of 27 inmates at Welikada Prison: CA fixes petition for 13 Dec.

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 7 December 2017 01:04

The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed for 13 December the Writ Petition seeking a fresh investigation on the alleged massacre of 27 inmates at Welikada Prison in order to ascertain the progress report on the investigation.

The bench comprised justices L.T.B. Dehideniya (CA President) and Shiran Gooneratne.

The Attorney General on 17 October assured that the investigation into the alleged killing of 27 inmates of the Welikada Prison in December 2012 would be conducted in a transparent manner and a progress report would be submitted.

Senior State Counsel Madhava Tennekoon, appearing for the Attorney General, had also informed Court on that date that there were inquiries being conducted by teams from the Special Task Force and Army and prisons officers.

He said that fresh investigation were being conducted by a team of police officers appointed by the IGP and a large portion of the investigation was completed and he sought permission for four to six more weeks to complete the investigation. Counsel K.S. Ratnavale, appearing for the petitioner, had pleaded that the investigation should be conducted in a transparent manner and the progress of the investigation should be revealed in Court.

The Writ Petition was filed by W.S. Nandimal Silva, seeking an investigation into the alleged killing of 27 inmates of the Welikada Prisons in December 2012 where it is alleged that the army, STF, Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and Prison Intelligence stormed the facility and started shooting. The petitioner claimed that he was the direct eyewitness of the incidents that happened on 9 and 10 November 2012 and cited the Commissioner General of Prisons, CID Director, IGP, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs and the Attorney General as respondents. The petitioner is 45 years old and was an employee of the Railway Department from 1994-2007. On 25 June 2007 he was arrested and charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and was in remand custody at Welikada Prison from 2009. As the confessions were rejected by the High Court, the indictments were withdrawn by the Attorney General consequent to which the petitioner was released from prisons on 19 September 2013.

While in remand custody, he claims he was a direct eyewitness of the incidents which occurred on 9 and 10 November 2012 in which 27 inmates of the Welikada Prison were killed.

He complains that although four years have lapsed since the brutal killings of these prisoners, no action has yet been taken by the police or the Attorney General to conduct an investigation and prosecute the offenders.

The petitioner states that the deceased prisoners were kept in prison in custody on the orders of the Judiciary. He contends it is the Judiciary which has the supreme duty to supervise, oversee and be in control of the affair pertaining to the prisoners.

He laments that their application for bail was often rejected by the Judiciary and consequently their remand was extended. He says that when the lives of the prisoners were in danger, the Judiciary was under obligation to cause an investigation and inquiry into such incidents and make appropriate directions.

He states that the report recently issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has cited the Welikada Prison massacre among other emblematic cases in Sri Lanka and has drawn the attention of the Government to the fact that no justice has been afforded to the victims.

He alleges that the Criminal Investigation Department and the Police Department have failed and neglected to perform their duties according to the law and have failed even to launch basic investigations leading to the prosecution of the offenders. The conduct of the prison authorities, in failing to prevent outsiders from entering the prison and committing the said atrocities, should be made subject to credible investigation by the CID, he states.

 He is seeking the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus on the second and third respondents, commanding them to commence lawful investigations into the incidents. State Counsel Maithri Amarasinghe appeared for the State. (SS)

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