Witness seeks CA order to probe Welikada shootings

Activists in front of the Welikada Prison demanding justice for prisoners while Prison Reforms Minister D.M Swaminathan makes a statement to the media explaining the Government stance yesterday. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage

The Court of Appeal yesterday re-fixed for support for October 17, a writ petition which sought an order directing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and CID Director to commence an investigation into the Welikada prison riot in 2012 resulting in the death of 27 prisoners.

When the petition came up before Court of Appeal (President) Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice Shiran Gunaratne, counsel who appeared on behalf of the petitioner sought a further date to support the petition.

Sudesh Nandimal Silva who was in remand custody at the time the shooting took place had filed this writ petition.

He has cited Prisons Commissioner General,CID Director, Inspector General of Police, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister and the Attorney General as respondents.

Silva said he was seeking Court attention to what he saw and was within his personal knowledge of the said tragic incidents for the purpose of obtaining relief.

On November 9, 2012 at about 1.00 pm the petitioner and other prisoners at Welikada prison received information that Army and STF personnel were about to enter the prison to conduct a search operation. The petitioner got to know that here was an argument between prison officials and a contingent from the TID, STF waiting at the prison gates on the procedure related to the search operation.

Silva said the prison was in Army control until 10 am on November 10, 2012. By that time 27 prison inmates had been killed by STF, Army, TID and Prison Intelligence. The petitioner has made a complaint to the CID on February 2, 2015. The petitioner stated that although four years has lapsed since the killings, no action has yet been taken by the police or the Attorney General to conduct an investigation and prosecute the offenders.

This petition was filed through Senior Counsel K.S. Ratnavale and counsel Senaka Perera. 

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