24 October, 2021

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Welikada Massacre Began With The Entry Of The Para Military STF, Appoint An Independent Commission – LfD

By Colombo Telegraph

“The LfD urges the government to appoint an independent commission consisting of retired Supreme Court or Court of Appeal Judges to inquire into these bizarre extra-judicial killings” says Lawyers for Democracy.

Lal Wijenayaka

“It is alleged that the whole incident leading to the massacre began with the entry of the para military Special Task Force (STF) into the prison compound to search the cells of the death row prisoners having taken them out in hand cuffs and brutally assaulted them.” issueing a satement its convener Lal Wijenayake further says.

We publish LfD statement in full;

Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) learns with horror, shock and disgust the allegation of extra-judicial killing of nearly 26 inmates of the Welikada Prison.  It is alleged that the whole incident leading to the massacre began with the entry of the para military Special Task Force (STF) into the prison compound to search the cells of the death row prisoners having taken them out in hand cuffs and brutally assaulted them.  It is alleged that when the other prisoners shouted in protest against the assault of the helpless prisoners STF personnel had tear gassed the entire prison compound including cells which had compelled the prisoners to run for cover and safety.  There are conflicting reports about what happened after that but it is alleged that some other officials who entered the prison premises had been looking for some prisoners according to a list they had.

It is seen that many of these extra-judicial killing had been perpetrated according to a premeditated plan to assassinate some selected prisoners.

The LfD wishes to remind the authorities that the essence of imprisonment is only deprivation of liberty and that the right forfeited by prisoners are those that are taken away expressly or by necessary implication by the fact of this deprivation of liberty and they are entitled to all other rights including right of life, dignity, freedom from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment at all times in their period of imprisonment or detention.

The LfD states further that imprisonment is a part of the criminal justice process and in a democratic society like Sri Lanka people are sent to prison by independent judges appointed by the state.  Therefore prison administration should always be directly in the hand of the prison authorities who are not either under military or police authorities and that there should be a clear organizational separation between the police and the prison administration.  The police must be strictly separate from the prison system.  This begs an answer to the question as to who authorized the entry of the STF personnel in to the prison to carry out the so called search.

In conclusion the LfD states that those authorities who called in STF personnel into the prison are directly answerable to the massacre of these prisoners.  This is seen to be a repetition of what happened in 1983 where 53 Tamil political prisoners kept in maximum security detention at the same prison were massacred in batches within three days.  The government has to take the responsibility for the lives of prisoners.

The LfD urges the government to appoint an independent commission consisting of retired Supreme Court or Court of Appeal Judges to inquire into these bizarre extra-judicial killings.

*‘Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) is a representative body of legal practitioners throughtout the island.  Conveners include Lal Wijenayake, Chandrapala Kumarage, J. C. Weliamuna, K. S. Ratnavale, Sudath Netthisinghe, Sudarshana Gunawardana.  It was established on 10th December 2009’.

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Latest comments

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    SarathDe and Polygamy Court which would keep the minutes and forget the hours. Laughing all the way (sic)

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    I think this Wijenayaka fellow is too soft on criminals, i.e. drug dealers, rapists, murders and all forms of convicted fellows at Welikada. I wonder he would do differently if the criminals go rioting, take arms and start shooting indiscriminately. The country is in this mess because of the unethical lawyers who are highly politically motivated and take any opportunity to condemn the government regardless of the situation. Was he there in the prison at the time this whole thing happened? It seems like he was right there inside the jail when this operation took place. If that was the case, I mean he was in jail at the time of this operation, what was he doing in the jail, and how he got out? These are the questions he should answer. If he was not in the jail, how does he know all these when there has been no an enquiry yet?

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    Seems like a well timed cull. Most of these IRC types have connections right to the very top. They do the dirty work then they are taken out because they know too much. Since the prisoners massacre in ’83, targeting prisoners inside Welikada has been standard operating procedure. This particular operation seems like a grand production.

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    Murder most foul. Now the CG of Prisons wants to hand over to the Defence Ministry. Problem is he doesnt know how to do a proper job. They are just warming their backsides without improving the systems and training their people. What to do when we have ministers like this Gajadeera fellow who looks and speaks like a mudalali.

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    Lawyers are in real scum class specially SL… They are into forging deeds these days… Can you believe that officer of the court engaging in this racket?

    Writer should ask How Satellite phones end up in jail and how did crocks got hold of arms wishing a flash? Yes, some one inside gave crooks access to the armoury..
    These issues arose due to corruption inside prison by guards and politicos… Defence ministry want to clean it and eventually they will, with out some scum of the earth crying foul over it.

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    One stone two birds. Divert people’s attention from impeachment and budget gripes; and get rid of people you hate or fear in prison. We have heard this before. Anyway first time in SL

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    Nanthikandal lagoon birds are coming south to roost. Looks like warning to the govt. goons to check their backs.

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    This prison genocide was carried out for four main purposes. 1) To destroy govt. contract killers and informants in prison and destroy their files. 2) To send a message to opposition and general public that Govt. still could instigate riots similar to 1983 and still could use strong arm methods to suppress any political opponent to dictatorial regime. 3) To send messages to Govt. goons and cross overs to watch their backs and not do anything against the regime, failing so they will have to face same repercussions. 4) Long term plan to bring prison under defense ministry. Isn’t this called a dictatorial regime? What they do in North is coming to south to roost. Hi time to think serious.

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