Welikada prison riot petition postponed

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By 2017-12-07

BY KAVINDYA PERERA

The petition filed in connection with the deaths of 27 prisoners in the riot that raged at the Welikada Prison in November 2012, would be heard on 13 December, the Court of Appeal decided yesterday (6).

The petition was called up yesterday following an order given by the Court on 21 September to submit a report pertaining to the progress made during the investigations in this regard.

However, the lawyer appearing for the plaintiff revealed that the report is not ready, and therefore requested the Court to give a short Court date. The Court took into consideration the pleas of both sides and decided to hear the petition again on 13 December

In the petition filed by an eyewitness to the incident, Sudesh Nandimal Silva of Tissamaharama, it was stated, on 9 November 2012, when he was within the Welikada Prison at about 1:00 p.m., he learnt that it was on the orders of the then Defence Secretary that a search operation was launched by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and the Special Task Force (STF).

During the search operation, an argument erupted between the groups of prisoners, which escalated into a conflict. In order to control the pandemonium, the Prison Intelligence Division wielding weapons had intervened with the use of tear gas while brutally attacking the prisoners, owing to which action a large number of prisoners in the cells were driven into deep despair, the petitioner had further indicated in his petition.

Though this conflict was brought under control at about 10:00 a.m. on 10 November 2012, 27 prisoners died during the riot, the petitioner had disclosed in the petition.

The petitioner in his application to the Court has prayed that a transparent investigation be conducted into this incident while also requesting that a writ be issued on the respondents: the Inspector General of Police, the Director – Criminal Investigation Department, the Prisons Commissioner General and the Minister of Prison Reforms and Resettlement to appear before Court, as well as consider whatever other relief the Court can grant.

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