Sri Lanka prison chief gets death penalty for 2012 massacre | Prison News

The court convicted Prisons Commissioner Emile Lamihouage but released two police commandos accused of killing 27 inmates using execution style.

A senior Sri Lankan prison official has been sentenced to death for killing 27 prisoners in an execution-style massacre that drew international condemnation.

The Colombo High Court on Wednesday convicted Prisons Commissioner Emile Lamahaage, but released his co-defendant, Police Chief Moses Rangagiwa, over the November 2012 killings.

The duo was 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 collected regarding only eight people.

Police commandos were used to put down a riot in Welicada and to disarm prisoners who allegedly took weapons from the armory.

According to the prosecutor, eight prisoners were called by their names and killed in the manner of execution. Others were also shot dead.

Weapons were later introduced to make it appear as if the victims had tried to shoot prison guards, according to court documents.

But they did not say who ordered their killing.

The targeted killings drew international condemnation from the government of then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current prime minister who also faced condemnation for human rights abuses in the final years of Sri Lanka’s 37-year Tamil war that ended in 2009.

Some of the prisoners who were killed were being held for burglaries at a museum and national temple in Sri Lanka.

The 2012 massacre was the island nation’s worst prison violence since 50 inmates were killed in riots in July 1983.

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