Probe into Sri Lankan prisoners' deaths

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 20:37 hrs

The S ri Lankan government has appointed a committee to probe the prison riot in the Colombo main prison which recorded the highest death toll in its prison history, where 27 inmates were killed.

Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera has appointed a three-member committee to investigate the incident where 27 inmates were killed and 43 people including the Chief of Police Commandos were injured following a shootout between the inmates and the police officers on Friday.

Police have recovered 72 weapons taken from the prison armory by prisoners. The Minister said investigations were undergoing to recover weapons and arrest some prisoners whom believed to be escaped during the shootout.

Meanwhile Commissioner General of Prisons P. W. Kodippily said he urges the Defence Ministry to take over the activities of the prisons as his jailers had failed to keep banned items like mobile phones and drugs from being taken into prisons.

The clash erupted following a sudden raid in some wards of the prison to detect narcotics and cell phones. The clash worsened when the prisoners, most of whom were convicted for serious crimes started shooting with weapons taken from the prison armory.

"I strongly believe the prisoners were assisted by the jail guards and otherwise it is not easy for them to break into the armory," he said.

According to the Prison's Chief, some of the highly corrupt officials wanted to prevent sudden raids in prisons as such would affect their illegal activities in prisons.

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