Court to hear appeals of Bindunuwewa massacre accused

[TamilNet, Monday, 07 June 2004, 01:44 GMT]
Chief Justice of Colombo Supreme Court, Sarath N.Silva has appointed five High Court justices to hear the appeals of the five accused, including Sri Lanka police officers, Senaka Karunasena and Roger Ratnayake, and three civilians from Bandarawela who were convicted of the massacre of 27 inmates of rehabilitation camp for young Tamil persons in Bindunuwewa on October 2000 and were sentenced to death, legal sources in Colombo said.

Bindunuwewa accused
Karunasena and Ratnayake (Photo: Virakesari)


High Court judge, J.A.N.Silva will lead the panel of Justices in the bench. The appeal hearing is scheduled for the 10th and 11th of June, according to media reports.

When the trial began in 2000, there were forty-four suspects in the case, among whom nineteen were Policemen. Sinhala nationalists carried out campaigns to free the Policemen accused in the case. All the other suspects in the Trial at Bar were acquitted by the bench.

According to witnesses, four boys were burnt alive while one’s neck was severed with an electric hacksaw. Two of the victims were boys under seventeen. The majority were between 18-25 years. The mass murder in the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Camp located in the hill district of Bandarawela, drew attention to the level vulnerability to which Tamil political prisoners are exposed in Sri Lankan prisons.

Two decades ago, in July 1983, forty-eight Tamil political prisoners were gruesomely massacred in a maximum-security prison in Colombo.

The gruesome manner in which the young prisoners were murdered shocked Tamils, across the political spectrum in Sri Lanka.

The Sinhala press, however, portrayed the massacre as a valiant attempt by the Police to contain a revolt by incarcerated Liberation Tigers. Sections of the hardcore Sinhala nationalist press gave prominence to spurious stories that a one of the inmates was the agent provocateur of the massacre.


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