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Khuram Shaikh murder: DNA evidence delays Sri Lanka trial

2013 Jul 07

Problems with DNA evidence have delayed the prosecution of suspects over the murder of a Red Cross worker in Sri Lanka in 2011, British officials said.

Khuram Shaikh, 32, from Milnrow, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was shot and stabbed on Christmas Day 2011.

Eight people, including a Sri Lankan politician, were arrested and bailed in November. They all denied the charges.

The British High Commission in Colombo said the 18-month delay was "not a good message to tourists".

The Sri Lanka High Commission said the "Government Analyst's report relating to DNA evidence is awaited and all arrangements have been made to commence proceedings upon receipt of the same".
'Brutal attack'

Robbie Bulloch, Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, said: "What we have been told is that they have been waiting for DNA evidence and that has been holding it up.

"Why that should take 18 months to process I don't know, but what we have done from the very beginning is urge the government to take this very seriously.
Khuram Shaikh's brother Nasir Khuram Shaikh's brother Nasir said a trial date must be set

"It's a brutal attack, it's not a good message for a country which attracts very many British tourists each year."

Mr Shaikh, who graduated from Salford University, had been working in Gaza for the Red Cross, fitting prosthetics limbs.

He was shot and stabbed when he and his Russian girlfriend, Victoria Aleksandrovna Tkacheva, were attacked on holiday in the resort of Tangalle.

In a statement, the Sri Lanka High Commission said the government of Sri Lanka "is committed to prosecute the persons responsible", with a "special prosecutor nominated by the Attorney-General to conduct the prosecution".

It confirmed the case had been transferred from Tangalle to Columbo Magistrates Court "to prevent the alleged intimidation of witnesses".

"These incidents, though extremely sad and unfortunate, have happened in many other tourist destinations in the past and can happen anywhere in the world," it said.

"This will by no means overshadow the warmth that is offered to tourists by our hospitable nation and its people".
'DNA evidence outstanding'

Mr Shaikh had been trying to break up a fight in the hotel bar.

His brother, Nasir, said: "There's still witness accounts outstanding, DNA evidence outstanding, 18 months on this should have been completed. We need a trial date set".

The Sri Lankan government has said it strongly condemned the killing, but Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said he was "extremely disappointed" with their response.

He said: "They need to follow the rule of law and rise to the standards expected of Commonwealth countries. We need to pressurise the Sri Lankan government to ensure justice is done."

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