The report of the three-member committee appointed to probe the 2012 Welikada prison riot is now complete and will be handed over to Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe in the next several days, Secretary to the Commission, Lal Senadheera told The Nation.
The committee began its investigation in early February this year and conducted its probe over a period of three months. Senadheera stated they recorded statements from over 100 persons during the course of the investigation. These include statements from jailors, inmates, relatives of those who were killed and others connected with the incident. The committee also invited members of the public to submit their information and evidence on the incident by phone or in writing to the committee office. “The report is quite extensive and is far larger in scope than the one compiled by the committee previously appointed to probe the issue,” Senadheera stated.
When contacted, Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said he had been informed that the report was due to be handed over to him by the end of the week. He said he will have to study the committee’s recommendations before deciding on the next course of action.
The Committee which was appointed by the Justice Minister is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam. The other members of the committee are retired DIG Asoka Wijetillake and retired administrative official and attorney S.K. Liyanage.
At least 27 inmates were killed and many others suffered injuries due to the riot that began on the afternoon of November 9, 2012. Several prison guards and Police Special Task Force (STF) Commandoes were also injured during the clashes.
The riot began after members of the STF entered the prison to conduct a search operation for drugs and smuggled mobile phones. Prisoners later broke into the prison’s armory and got hold of firearms. The situation was eventually brought under control after STF and Army Commandos stormed the prison. However, a number of allegations surfaced subsequently, including claims that several prisoners who surrendered were later lined up and executed inside the prison.