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Murder in prison: Investigation launched after 9 days only because of CPPR revelation

After 9 days of the killing of an inmate at the Kadurugas-ara open prison camp  three prison officers including a Jailor have been interdicted in connection with the incident.

Lalith Hettige

Lalith Chaminda Hettige, 49, a resident of Kandewatta in Matara, had been sentenced to 04 years rigorous imprisonment in March last year over the theft of Rs. 10,000 and was later transferred from Matara Prison to the Kadurugas-ara open prison camp.

Initially prison authorities had claimed that the inmate had escaped and was captured by a group of villagers who had assaulted him, resulting in his death from the injuries.

However, the daughter of the deceased. Dilani Manjula claimed  her father was beaten to death by the prison officers.

She disclosed the background of the death of her father in a press conference organised by the Committee for the Protection of Prisoners’ Rights.

According to her on January 13, his father told her over the phone that he would not be able to see her again, and on January 14, prison officials informed Lalith’s family that Lalith Chaminda Hettige had died. Lalith’s last rites were performed at Imaduwa on the 18th.

According to Manjula,

  • Several prison officials have taken the  money and sexual bribes  allegedly for  the protection of the father.
  • The prison has fabricated a complete lie about his father’s death by showing that he escaped from prison, and she alleges that it was a murder that took place in an open – air prison.
  • She says her father was killed because she did not fulfil the expectations of prison officials, including sexual bribes.

“For 9 days prison officials tried to cover up the murder. It is only because of  intervention of the CPPR, and courageous disclosure by her daughter Prisons Department has launched an investigation in to the killing ”  chairperson of the CPPR, human rights lawyer Senaka Perera told Sri Lanka Brief.

-With the inputs from Ada Derana and CPPR. (SLB)

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