Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Prisoner Rights activists slam Mahara incident as massacre

01 Dec 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • Planning to take legal action
  • Won’t hesitate to report to international

By Sheain Fernandopulle

The turmoil which unfolded at the Mahara Prison on Sunday could be depicted as a massacre where a considerable number of inmates were killed than what was reported, the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners alleged yesterday. 

Its President Attorney at Law Senaka Perera told Daily Mirror the number of deaths reported in the media was not accurate adding that more deaths had been reported.

“It was, in fact, an unfortunate incident that erupted when the inmates started to complain to the prison officers, that it was not fair to detain the Covid-19 infected inmates inside the prison as it threatened other prisoners and therefore, insisted to place them separately.

However, the protest escalated when the prison officers employed counter-agitation over the demands of the inmates.

“The inmates were provoked by the Prison officers when Prison officers opened fire at them,” he said.
He said a total of more than 200 inmates had so far contracted Covid-19 in the Mahara Prison.
Perera said they would not hesitate to go to courts over the incident and also to report to the concerned bodies in the international arena.

Meanwhile, he said there was excessive congestion in prisons which had led to a dangerous situation in terms of spreading the Covid-19 virus within prisons. “It has been reported that the PCR tests are conducted on randomly selected inmates whereas all the inmates should be subjected to tests,” he added.