Welikada Prison riot Committee recommends compensation to victims

Saturday, 27 June 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The committee appointed to probe the deadly riot at largest and most crowded prison in November 2012 has recommended that the Government pay compensation to families of members killed and injured during the riot.

The new Government commenced a fresh probe in to the killings that were reported in the aftermath of the Welikada Prison riot that broke out on 9 November 2012.

Justice and Labour Relations Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe appointed a three-member committee to probe the deadly incident that resulted in several deaths of inmates.

The committee handed over its report to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on 9 June.

Justice Minister Rajapaksha said that he was ready to implement the Committee recommendations and that compensation would be paid only on behalf of the people who were not involved in violent activities.

The deadly riot at the Welikada remand prison resulted in the death of 27 inmates and injured 43 others. Among the injured were 13 Special Task Force (STF) officers including the commanding officer of the STF team which was called to control the rioting prisoners and a prison official. The committee has, in addition, suggested that steps be taken to review unreasonable sentences imposed on the inmates relating to the incident with the view of granting them redress, the state TV reported.

The committee suggested that steps be taken to initiate fresh criminal investigations into the matters that have not been taken into consideration with a special focus on alleged violations corresponding to torture.

“It is of the view that arduous efforts by all officers must be recognised and duly rewarded in the form of monetary rewards as considered appropriate by Prison authorities as some officers have contributed courageously under trying circumstances,” the Committee recommended.

The committee recommended that the issue of prison overcrowding be addressed. It also suggested of separating the inmates according to the gravity of the crimes alleged to have been committed in order to prevent the negative influence of convicts over others.

High Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam chaired the committee while retired DIG Asoka Wijethilleke and retired Administrative Officer Attorney S. K. Liyanage assisted the Chairman.

The committee, appointed in February this year, visited the prison and collected evidence from all involved in the clash.

The Minister of Justice has emphasised that special attention will be directed to the recommendations of the committee and that the Ministry will proceed with necessary action.