Former prison commissioner Emil Ranjan sentenced to death over prisoners’ killings

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar today sentenced former Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan Lamahewa to death over the Welikada Prison riot in 2012 which resulted in the deaths of 27 inmates.

The Court acquitted the first defendant in the case, the then Inspector of the Police Narcotics Bureau, Neomal Rangajeewa from all charges.

The order was issued by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Gihan Kulatunga, Pradeep Hettiarachchi and Manjula Tilakaratne.

On November 9, 2012, Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel entered the Welikada Prison and launched an operation to seize illegal and prohibited items in the possession of the inmates.

During the search operation a confrontation ensued after the inmates broke into the prison’s armory and seized firearms.

The indictment filed by the Attorney General states that three divisions of the Sri Lanka Army were sent to the prison to quell the clash.

During the clash 27 detainees were killed and several others, including the then Deputy Commander of the STF, were injured.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against Inspector of Police Moses Rangajeewa of Police Narcotics Bureau, Superintendent of Magazine Prison Lamahewage Emil Ranjan and Indika Sampath, an officer attached to the Prisons intelligence unit in connection with the Welikada Prison Riot.

The defendants were charged of 33 counts including the killing of eight inmates selected by the defendants in the industrial area of the prison, the conspiracy to murder and illegally assembling a mass of people while the conflict was being suppressed.

Accordingly, the case was heard for more than two years.

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