Speed up the investigations regarding the killing of Welikada prisoners – Anti-Corruption Front
Advisor to the Anti-Corruption Front, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon urged the Government to release the report of the investigation conducted by the Ministry of Justice regarding the killing of Welikada prisoners in 2012.
Addressing the media in Colombo on 1 March, Tennakoon noted that although the investigation report regarding the incident was completed nine months ago, it was not released by the Government and claimed that few individuals who do not want certain facts to be revealed about the Welikada Prison incident were preventing the release of the report.
“During the last few years serious human rights violations took place. Media had reported about those. We expect that justice will be served. The Anti-Corruption Front lodged complaints regarding the involvement of security officers of the former President in certain crimes. One person was given land more than 300 acres. It is a question whether baby elephants automatically landed to these lands,” added Tennakoon.
He further added that 27 people were killed in the Welikada Prison riot, noting that it was once they had demanded an investigation, that the Minister in charge of prisons had then conducted an investigation.
“Followed by the consistent pressure of the civil society, the Ministry of Justice appointed a committee to conduct an investigation and the committee prepared the report within four months and handed it over. It has been nine months since then, and the report is yet to be released. The Government has failed to serve the justice to Welikada prisoners which was served to Prageeth Ekneligoda,” added Tennakoon.
He further stressed that the public should not wait till the justice fall before their foots and claimed that the justice will not be served till Ministry of Justice keep the investigation report in their cupboards. He uestion as why the government hide reports which were prepared from tax payers money and alleged that the report is kept in the cupboard to hide the killings took place.
“There are individuals within the Government who want to hide the report. We urge the Government to release the report and punish the culprits. If the Government does not release the report we will have to take alternative actions. There is no alternative other than revealing those who were involved in the crimes,” he added
Addressing the media, the President of the Anti-Corruption Front,
Ven. Ulapone Sumangala Thera said that prisoners were killed whilst hiding behind concocting a riot.
“Although it was attempted to interpret the events as a riot started by prisoners, few prisoners revealed the truth to the media. The Government then appointed a committee to look in to the matter, but it was not impartial,” he said.
The Thera added that the new Government appointed another committee, but the Government that pledged to stand against corruption and suppression had failed to publicize the report of the committee. The Thera noted that they expected quick actions from the present Government regarding injustice.
“Prisoners were killed selectively by calling from their names. The public elected this Government to stand up against such human rights violations. These prisoners were there after being convicted, but killing them cannot be justified,” the Thera stressed.
He further urged the Government to release the report regarding the investigations immediately and to take action against the culprits irrespective of their positions.
“In order to prevent this happening again, culprits should be brought before justice. We demand from the Government that they reveal the culprits,” the Thera claimed.
Attorney-at-Law Namal Rajapaksa noted that prisoners are kept in the prison under the orders of the judiciary and killing prisoners is an insult to the judiciary.
“We have never heard about law breaking in this nature where prisoners were killed in prisons. In order to prevent such uncivilized acts in the future, action must be taken against culprits. As lawyers we demand to file cases against those who gave the orders,” he added.
Expressing his views, journalist Kasun Pussawela said that the media had reported about the Welikada Prison killings based on the information provided by eyewitnesses. He further added that although the investigation report of the committee was handed over to the Prime Minister it was not released yet.
“We suspect whether there is a deal regarding this. We urge the Government to release the report and reveal the culprits,” he added.
Caffe Srilanka's photo.
Caffe Srilanka's photo.