UPDATE (SRI LANKA): Seven suspects of rape and murder case brought to court


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-08-2003
ISSUES: Violence against women,

Dear Friends,

We have been informed that seven suspects in the rape and murder of Sholamali Umma Devi were brought to the Nawalapitiya Magistrates Court on Feb. 28, 2003. A young Tamil woman, Sholamali Umma Devi, 23, had been abducted, raped and murdered on Sept. 12, 2001, at Kopiwatte, Mallanda, in Nawalapitiya on her way home after attending her typing class. Her body was found near the Batalanda Bridge on Sept. 19, 2001.

According to the news report, people crowded along the road opposite the courthouse amid a heavy police presence when the suspects were brought to court.

Inside the court, Nawalapitiya Magistrate N. Nambuwasam informed a defence lawyer that the court had no power to allow bail as they were being produced before the court under Section 296 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He also informed that one of the suspects was earlier granted bail by a higher court, and the magistrates court has no power to allow bail.

At first, because the police had not shown any concern about this case, a number of protests were organised by workers as Sholamali Umma Devi was from the Imbulpitiya Estate. Subsequently, the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, Nimal Mediweke, formed a team, and the Special Crimes Investigation Unit in Kandy began to investigate this crime.

We will closely follow the process of the trial and send you updated information. If you want to know more about this case, please see our previous appeal at: <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2001/168/>;.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-08-2003
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Violence against women,