The court found Prison Commissioner Emil Lamahewage guilty, but dismissed co-accused police commando for execution-style murder of 27 inmates.
A top Sri Lankan prison official has been sentenced to death for the murder of 27 prisoners in an execution style carnage which provoked international condemnation.
The Colombo High Court on Wednesday found prison commissioner Emil Lamahewage guilty, but acquitted his co-accused, police commando Moses Rangajeewa, of the November 2012 murders.
The duo were charged in July 2019 with the murders at Sri Lanka’s main Welikada prison in Colombo. A total of 27 were shot dead, but evidence was gathered in respect of only eight.
Police commands were used to hit a riot at Welikada and disarm prisoners who allegedly took weapons of arms.
According to the state prosecutor, eight prisoners were called by name and executed in style. Others were also shot dead.
Weapons were later brought in to make it appear as if the victims were trying to fire at prison guards, according to court documents.
However, they did not name who ordered the killings.
The targeted killings led to international condemnation of the then government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current prime minister who also faced condemnation for real violations in the last years of Sri Lanka’s 37 year long Tamil war which ended in 2009.
Some of the prisoners killed were detained for robberies at Sri Lanka’s national museum and a temple.
The 2012 massacre was the worst prison violence in the island nation since 50 prisoners were hacked to death in a riot in July 1983.