The Government has failed to follow up on the report on investigations on the Welikada prison riots that killed 27 inmates on November 9 last year.A three-member committee was appointed the following day to investigate into the incident and the report was scheduled to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa within a period of three weeks. However, the deadline was constantly extended citing practical issues.
When contacted by The Nation, officials at the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms were unaware of the status of the report.
Speaking to The Nation, Media spokesperson for the Ministry, Iroshan Preethikumara said he did not have any information regarding the report. “I have no idea about the prison riot report. It is handled by an independent committee where the ministry cannot influence. We cannot ask or push them to hurry it,” he said adding that ‘only the committee could tell you about the current status of the report; sometimes the Secretary to the ministry might know the current status.’
Secretary to the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, S. Withanage said he too was also unable to tell why the prison riot report is being delayed.
On November 9, 2012, prisoners rioted at Welikada prison during a search by the police Special Task Force (STF) for illegal arms and drugs. It was reported that the prisoners broke into the prison armory and started firing at the STF. At least 27 inmates were killed and several others were injured.
In May, Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms said the report on the prison riot was delayed since statements from some officers and an inmate had not been included and it would be completed as soon as those statements were included. And he said the report would be completed and handed over by the end of May