Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sri Lanka: Update--2011 Murder of British Tourist, 32, Boggs Down Over Witness Tampering

As a follow-up to my last postings of March 15, 2013, some going back as far as December 2011, the murder of British tourist Khuram Shaikh Zaman, 32, and the severe beating of his Russian girlfriend, Victoria Alexandrovna, 23, sustained in Tangalle, has been transferred to the capital of Colombo, due to the alleged threats to the witnesses from the suspects, all of whom are politically well-connected.

COMMENT: The case was recently transferred to Colombo by the country's Attorney General after the alleged eight assailants have been accused of witness tampering.

The murder victim and his companion were killed and assaulted, respectively, in a brawl during a party at a tourist hotel in Rekawa, Tangalle, on Christmas Eve in 2011.

The main suspect, ruling party Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana and seven others, who were arrested and remanded following the murder, were released on bail in November 2012.

A British MP, who recently visited Sri Lanka with the victim's brother,  Naseer Shaikh, to inquire about the progress in the case, had expressed  dissatisfaction over the lack of progress in the prosecution.

As I have said previously and over the years, it is essential that foreign travelers take every step possible to avoid disputes, disagreements and arguments with locals, as it can take years to successfully adjudicate such conflicts through foreign courts, particularly when the assailants have political clout.