Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sri Lanka: Update--Girlfriend of Murdered Briton Khuram Shaikh in 2001 Identifies Defendants in Court

According to The Colombo Page, Russian national Victoria Alexandrovna, the girlfriend of the late British tourist  Khuram Shaikh, 32, who was murdered in Tangalle in December 2011, identified the first suspect of the case, Lahiru Kelum AKA Chaminda as the one who assaulted her at the Tangalle beach resort. 

Ms. Alexandrovna said in the Colombo High Court today that she had not identified the first suspect earlier due to fear of retaliation, but now that the Government of Sri Lanka has remanded the suspects into custody she confirmed the assailant's identity.

Ms. Alexandrovna was escorted to the court by British High Commission officials amid intensive security before, during and after the proceedings. 

COMMENT: Khuram Shaikh, 32, was killed in her presence at the Tangalle resort on Christmas Eve 2011 and that afterwards she was sexually assaulted in a brawl that followed.  

The state has charged six persons including former ruling party Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana.  

Ms. Alexandrovna confirmed the identity of each defendant that murdered her boyfriend and sexually assaulted herself. 

The main suspect in the case, Vidanapathirana, was remanded after his failed attempt to escape while released on bail after the initial arrest in 2012.

Judge Walgama insisted and ordered that all six defendants to be kept remanded during the entirety of the trial. 

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.

It should be noted that it is utterly amazing that the defendants even were brought to trial except for the diligence and persistence of Members of Parliament in the UK and senior level prosecutors in the Sri Lankan Ministry of Justice.