Image: A mother of a victim calling for justice.
Today a wife of a detainee whose husband was among the 11 inmates killed by gunfire within the Mahara prison filed a a Writ of Mandamus at the Court of Appeal calling for the implementation of order by Welisara Magistrate, who conducted the inquiry in to the deaths.
The petitioner Mehanuwara Gedara Lasanthi says in the petition that her husband Singakkara Liyanage Sampath Pushpa Kumara, 29 years of age was among the 11 inmates killed by gunfire.
The petition has been filed against the Prasad Ranasinghe, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department, Rohan Premaratne, Senior Superintendent of Police, Director, Criminal Investigation Department and C. D. Wickramarathne, Inspector General of Police.
The Welisara Magistrate’s Court on 26th of April 2023 ordered the Criminal Investigation Department to take appropriate prompt action and arrest all the suspects involved in this matter and present them to court in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Petitioner states that, accordingly the Learned Magistrate of the Welisara Magistrate’s Court declared that, according to the manner in which the deaths of all these 11 inmates have occurred as well as according to the evidence given by the inmates who were shot and injured in this case, this situation does not appear to be a humanitarian operation taken by the prison superintendent to simmer down and control the inmates by shooting them below the knee exercising minimal force.
It further stats that,
The Learned Magistrate of the Welisara Magistrate’s Court declared that, considering the post-mortem reports of the bodies of the 11 deceased, since the organs near and above the abdomen were shot, it is suspected that the deaths of these deceased were caused for the purpose of controlling the inmates and dispersing the group into institutions; and that it appears that shots were fired to every direction and therefore, the application of minimal force to shoot below the knee was not observed when considering the directions that the firearms were aimed at.
The Learned Magistrate further declared that, in the report dated 18.03.2021 filed in the Welisara Magistrate’s Court by the Criminal Investigation Department, it was stated that when the shooting took place, the officers who were in charge of the armoury of the prison, and when the weapons were issued, the weapons were not issued in such a way that the officer using them could be identified, and when they were received again, the Criminal Investigation Department revealed that they were not properly inspected and accepted.
The Learned Magistrate further declared that, during the investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department, it was revealed that firearms had been fired by the prison officers from various places in the prison.
The Petitioner states that, even though more than one and a half month has exceeded since the announcement of this Order, 26th of April 2023 by the Learned Magistrate of
the Welisara Magistrate’s Court, the Criminal Investigation Department has failed to take appropriate action to arrest all the suspects involved in this matter and present them to court.
Thereby, the Petitioner states that, the Police Officers of the Criminal Investigation Department and other responsible police officers have violated Section 56 of the of the Police Ordinance by not adhering to the said Order of the Welisara Magistrate Court dated 26th of April 2023 even after a lapse of close to two months since the delivery of the said Order.
Therefore, the Petitioner states that, in the totality of the aforesaid circumstances the Petitioner is entitled in law to an Order in the nature of a Writ of Mandamus to the 1st 2nd and 3rd Respondents directing them to arrest all the suspects involved in the matter incidental to the Welisara Magistrate case bearing Case Number B 3118/20 and present them to Court as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as per the Order dated 26th of April 2023.
Following inmates died of gunfire within the Mahara prison on 29 November 2020. vast majority of the inmates died are around 30 years age and one of them was 18 years old.
The names of the 11 inmates that died as a result of this riot is as follows;
- Arawvalage Bawantha Mahinda ( Age 25)
- Singakkara Liyanage Sampath Pushpa Kumara ( Age 29)
- Marlon Crake (Age 28)
- Alankara Dewage Amith Subhasinghe (Age 30)
- Dorawakage Indika Pushpa Kumara (Age 37)
- Yakupitivage Rasika Harshana Kariyawasam (Age 33)
- Sudu Dewage Pradeep Athula Kumar (Age 41)
- Welikala Vithanalage Kavindu Sulakshana Rodrigo (Age 21)
- Saranapriya Javasekara Patabandige Sujith Kumara ( Age 35)
- Hettiarachchige Lahiru Nimantha (Age 29)
- Vithanage Avishka Malshan ( Age 18)
Attorney-at-Law for the Petitioner Senaka Perera has filed the petition at the Court of Appeal.
Read the HRCSL recommendations here:Interim-Recommendations-of-HRCSL-on-Incidents-at-Mahara-Prison-on-29-November-2020