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Welikada Prison Riots: Proper investigation needed - Keerthi Tennakoon

2015 Jan 21

Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR), Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that there has not been a proper investigation into the Welikada Prison Riots in 2012 and that a committee comprising of civil officers must be appointed to investigate the incident.

He made this statement at an event to discuss about the experience and about things that were not discussed before at CSR Hall, Colombo.

“When the riot occurred the SLHRC held an investigation. They acted in a partisan way, they did not take evidence from those who arrived to give evidence. They didn’t take evidence from prison officers. So overall the SLHRC investigation was a farce. At least now we should appoint a committee to investigate this independently. In addition the security of witnesses should also be assured. This was the first of its kind after 40 years,” Tennakoon said.

Attorney-at- law, Udul Premaratne said that a number of persons who are involved in the riot have been killed. Among those murdered is a person accused of killing a Buddhist Monk at Kotte. “He was to make a special announcement about the incident before he was killed. Around 100 persons have disappeared and their parents still come to the prison. Prison officers tell these visitors that the prisoners have been transferred to other prisons but no one knows where they are,” he said.

Premaratne added that even the photos of the incident are suspicious and that certain individuals have placed weapons near the dead prisoners.

Meanwhile veteran journalist, Saman Wagaarachchi said that the responsibility of investigating such incidents lie with the government and steps must be taken to ensure such things from happening in the future.

“The new government speaks of good governance and to achieve this we must look at what happened in the past,” he said.

Journalist Kasun Pussella said that a three member committee was appointed to investigate the incident. However the committee has not released the report yet. “A lot more have died in the clash than what officials say.”

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