Ratwatte, sons released, 5 sentenced to death in Udathalawinne case
[TamilNet, Friday, 20 January 2006, 10:25 GMT]
High Court judges sentenced to death five Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and released former Deputy Defense Minister, Anurudha Ratwatte, his two sons, Rohan and Chanuka in the Udathalawinne case the verdict of which was released Friday morning, legal sources said. Other eight SLA soldiers were also released.
Former Defence Minister Ratwatte (Photo: Reuters)
Ratwatte, sons and thirteen SLA soldiers were indicted on seventy two counts, including election violence, grabbing ballot papers and ballot boxes, conspiracy to murder and committing the murder of ten Muslim youths on the general election day on December 5, 2001 at Udathalawinne in Kandy district.
The High Court Trial-at-Bar inquiry into the Udathalawinne massacre case concluded on 23 November 2005, and the High court judges are Depali Vijeyasunthara and Sunil Rajapaksa read the verdict 20 January morning.
At the start eighteen accused were indicted on October 15, 2002. The Trial at-Bar inquiry in the High Court commenced on January 20,2003. 106 of 281 witnesses listed by the prosecution gave evidence. During the trial, two accused Nimal Dhammika Siriwardene and Mahinda Wijesinghe were discharged for want of evidence. Mr.Lionel Balagalle, former army commander, several brigadiers and colonels of the SLA gave evidence on behalf of the prosecution. The evidence has been recorded over fifteen thousand pages. Counsels for the prosecution and defense delivered their addresses for about 26 days. 29 witnesses of 129 listed by the defense gave evidence, legal sources said.