Welikada Prison Massacre case : Wife of key eye witness claims husband’s life at stake | Sunday Observer

Welikada Prison Massacre case : Wife of key eye witness claims husband’s life at stake

Shamila Liyanaarachchi, the wife of Senarath Bandula Liyanaarachchi, a key eye witness of the Welikada Prison Massacre case claims the life of her husband is now at risk due to the decision made by Prison authorities to transfer him to the Magazine Prison once headed by a key suspect of the case.

She said the move could lead to her husband being threatened or intimidated by former subordinates of key suspect, Former Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan Lamahewa which could have an adverse effect on the case.

Liyanaarachchi now serving a prison sentence at the Anuradhapura Prison has received summons by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to appear as a witness before the Special trial at bar proceedings set to begin tomorrow (14).

“As the case is to be heard on a daily basis, the Prison officials have decided to transfer Liyannarachchi to the Magazine Prison in Colombo,” she said.

According to her on previous occasions, prisons officials had transported him directly from the Anuradhapura prison to Colombo to present him at the Nugegoda Magistrates Court for another case being heard. “But now they claim it is too expensive,” she said claiming that her husband’s life is in danger. “This is a conspiracy,” she added.“I request the government to protect the life of my husband who is a state witness,” she said.

Meanwhile, Liyanaarachchi writing to the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses through his counsel, Senaka Perera has the authority to intervene in this matter and prevent this transfer.

He noted that a key suspect of the case, Former Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan Lamahewa was the Prisons Superintendent in charge of the Magazine Prison in Welikada during the massacre in 2012. Liyanaarachchi had also been an inmate of the prison at the time. “Certain officers of the Magazine prison had on previous occasions also threatened the witness to prevent him from providing evidence” the council noted.

Perera in his letter, therefore, requested the authority to prevent the transfer under section 21 (1) of the National Victim and Witness Protection Act of 2015. Former Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan Lamahewa and IP Neomal Ranjageewa, formerly of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) have previously been accused of intimidating victims and witnesses of the case. The duo along with Prison Officer Indika Sampath was indicted on July 18 for the Welikada Prison Massacre which took place on November 9 and 10, 2012 where 27 inmates were killed within the Welikada Prison walls by the government forces.

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