Amnesty calls for inquiry into Kalutara murders

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Amnesty International today appealed to Sri Lanka's Minister of Justice Professor G.L Peiris, to order a full and impartial inquiry into the killing of three Tamil political detainees on December 12 at Kalutara prison.

In its letter to Minister G.L Peiris, Amnesty also expressed its concern for the safety of other Tamil detainees who witnessed the killing and are currently under guard by prison staff who may have been involved in the act.

Seven other Tamil political prisoners were injured in the attack carried out by a mob of Sinhalese inmates, incited by Sinhalese prison guards, according to survivors of the attack.

Amnesty also urged the minister to take all necessary steps to protect the witnesses, noting that "During a magistrate inquiry into the killings, several detainees who reportedly saw the killings refused to give evidence out of fear for their lives".

"Prison guards and army personnel deployed at the prison appear to have failed to take measures to protect the Tamil detainees at the time" Amnesty said further.

Amnesty International also urged the Sri Lankan Government to initiate a review of measures to safeguard the security of political prisoners held in the same prisons as common criminal suspects and convicts, albeit in separate wards.

Amnesty also said that it had noted that some action had been taken by prison authorities to defuse the situation, namely the transfer of the Sinhalese inmates, including those responsible for the attack, out of Kalutara prison.

 

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